What is the Orthodox Church? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
1  2  3 4 
Religious Studies > What is the Orthodox Church?
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 10:54 PM 12-05-2008


lilyka's Avatar lilyka 12:03 PM 02-18-2009
time for a
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 12:34 AM 07-07-2009
just bumping this for someone on another thread its becoming a hobby of mine
Bluegoat's Avatar Bluegoat 12:21 PM 07-07-2009
There are some differences in liturgies though - there is, for example, the Western Orthodox Church, which is a new thing, and seems to use what is essentially an Anglican liturgy that has been vetted for proper content. They tend to have a more Western style of music, vestments, and fasting. Some of them use statues.

As far as I can tell, some Orthodox people are very nasty about them, as they aren't really "Eastern". Although it seems to me that quite misses the point of claiming to be the True Church.
Tradd's Avatar Tradd 03:56 PM 07-07-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
There are some differences in liturgies though - there is, for example, the Western Orthodox Church, which is a new thing, and seems to use what is essentially an Anglican liturgy that has been vetted for proper content. They tend to have a more Western style of music, vestments, and fasting. Some of them use statues.

As far as I can tell, some Orthodox people are very nasty about them, as they aren't really "Eastern". Although it seems to me that quite misses the point of claiming to be the True Church.
Bluegoat, there are multiple problems with the Western Rite (what you called the Western Orthodox Church), as it is properly called. There are two uses: one is essentially the Anglican service, with a stronger epiclesis, and the Filoque restored to the Creed, along with a few other things. The other use is an English translation of the Tridentine Latin Mass, also tweaked.

The problems stem from several issues:

1. There appears to be a great deal of "liturgical archaeology" - various bits of services are put together to make a whole. Also, there are missing parts of propers for various things. There is no Western Rite ordination service, for example. They are ordained with the regular Orthodox (Eastern Rite) service. No "Orthodox" (pre-Schism Western) liturgical has come down whole - with all services, propers, hymns, etc. There is one (I don't remember which - Mozarabic?) that has come down the most complete, but large portions of the liturgical bits are missing.

2. There are very large pastoral issues with regards to the laity (and some priests). I've had multiple opportunities to speak with a Western Rite priest, so I have this first hand. First of all, many folks are just fleeing the liberal Episcopalians, and there is some real question if they truly become Orthodox, or just want to be rid of the liberal Episcopal leadership, and keep all the Anglican liturgics, etc.

There simply aren't a lot of Western Rite parishes (these are virtually all under the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America). I've been told of not a few folks who convert in the Western Rite, but then move to where there is not a Western Rite parish. The folks are so attached to the Anglican liturgics, not the Orthodox faith, that they lapse and go back to the Episcopalians - they can't conceive of being in a standard Eastern Rite Orthodox parish.

I was at a Western Rite Orthodox "Mass" and funeral last year. I was raised Roman Catholic, and then spent 5 years as a mostly Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian, before I became Orthodox 5.5 years ago. These services were held in a standard Eastern Rite Orthodox Church building (OCA), since the deceased was retired in the area and had been Western Rite in another state, so a lot of things were done to allow the person to be buried in the Western Rite (including getting permission from the local OCA bishop for a Western Rite service to be held in an OCA parish - the OCA has not, at least so far, allowed the Western Rite). The deceased was from a Western Rite parish that followed "Roman" use, so the Mass was, in parts, pretty familiar to me growing up as a Catholic. It was *mostly* in English, although some Latin was used (this is allowed in the Western Rite). But it didn't flow properly, iykwim? Things didn't quite fit together. I pay attention to liturgics.

I'm against the Western Rite - for the reasons I pointed out above. Many of the WR folks I've talked to cannot get over being Episcopalians. Being in a different rite (the Eastern Rite) has allowed me to put a great deal of distance between being Episcopalian and being Orthodox. It's totally different, from liturgics to music. The WR folks still have it there in their face. The ones I've talked to freely admit that they would still be Episcopalian, if the leadership had not gone so liberal. The Orthodox faith wasn't what so much what drew them in, as the chance to still keep Episcopalian/Anglican liturgics and be under a conservative leadership. It's more being "small o" orthodox, rather than being "Big O" Orthodox - at least with the ones I've talked to.

The Western Rite was basically aimed at dissatisfied Episcopalians in the States, at least as established by the Antiochians in the 1950s or so. I've heard proponents of the WR go on and on about the older (1928 Prayer Book) Anglican use / pre-Vatican II Catholic use are the "cultural memory" of Western Christians. Well, how many Catholics/Episcopalians are young enough to really remember this? None of my generation, that's to be sure - I was born in 1969. Orthodox priests I've talked to have also told me there are some serious theological concerns, but I've not had a chance to do more research into aspect of it.

So, someone can be against the Western Rite and have serious reservations about it, without being nasty about it.
Bluegoat's Avatar Bluegoat 04:33 PM 07-07-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
Bluegoat, there are multiple problems with the Western Rite (what you called the Western Orthodox Church), as it is properly called. There are two uses: one is essentially the Anglican service, with a stronger epiclesis, and the Filoque restored to the Creed, along with a few other things. The other use is an English translation of the Tridentine Latin Mass, also tweaked.

The problems stem from several issues:

1. There appears to be a great deal of "liturgical archaeology" - various bits of services are put together to make a whole. Also, there are missing parts of propers for various things. There is no Western Rite ordination service, for example. They are ordained with the regular Orthodox (Eastern Rite) service. No "Orthodox" (pre-Schism Western) liturgical has come down whole - with all services, propers, hymns, etc. There is one (I don't remember which - Mozarabic?) that has come down the most complete, but large portions of the liturgical bits are missing.

2. There are very large pastoral issues with regards to the laity (and some priests). I've had multiple opportunities to speak with a Western Rite priest, so I have this first hand. First of all, many folks are just fleeing the liberal Episcopalians, and there is some real question if they truly become Orthodox, or just want to be rid of the liberal Episcopal leadership, and keep all the Anglican liturgics, etc.

There simply aren't a lot of Western Rite parishes (these are virtually all under the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America). I've been told of not a few folks who convert in the Western Rite, but then move to where there is not a Western Rite parish. The folks are so attached to the Anglican liturgics, not the Orthodox faith, that they lapse and go back to the Episcopalians - they can't conceive of being in a standard Eastern Rite Orthodox parish.

I was at a Western Rite Orthodox "Mass" and funeral last year. I was raised Roman Catholic, and then spent 5 years as a mostly Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian, before I became Orthodox 5.5 years ago. These services were held in a standard Eastern Rite Orthodox Church building (OCA), since the deceased was retired in the area and had been Western Rite in another state, so a lot of things were done to allow the person to be buried in the Western Rite (including getting permission from the local OCA bishop for a Western Rite service to be held in an OCA parish - the OCA has not, at least so far, allowed the Western Rite). The deceased was from a Western Rite parish that followed "Roman" use, so the Mass was, in parts, pretty familiar to me growing up as a Catholic. It was *mostly* in English, although some Latin was used (this is allowed in the Western Rite). But it didn't flow properly, iykwim? Things didn't quite fit together. I pay attention to liturgics.

I'm against the Western Rite - for the reasons I pointed out above. Many of the WR folks I've talked to cannot get over being Episcopalians. Being in a different rite (the Eastern Rite) has allowed me to put a great deal of distance between being Episcopalian and being Orthodox. It's totally different, from liturgics to music. The WR folks still have it there in their face. The ones I've talked to freely admit that they would still be Episcopalian, if the leadership had not gone so liberal. The Orthodox faith wasn't what so much what drew them in, as the chance to still keep Episcopalian/Anglican liturgics and be under a conservative leadership. It's more being "small o" orthodox, rather than being "Big O" Orthodox - at least with the ones I've talked to.

The Western Rite was basically aimed at dissatisfied Episcopalians in the States, at least as established by the Antiochians in the 1950s or so. I've heard proponents of the WR go on and on about the older (1928 Prayer Book) Anglican use / pre-Vatican II Catholic use are the "cultural memory" of Western Christians. Well, how many Catholics/Episcopalians are young enough to really remember this? None of my generation, that's to be sure - I was born in 1969. Orthodox priests I've talked to have also told me there are some serious theological concerns, but I've not had a chance to do more research into aspect of it.

So, someone can be against the Western Rite and have serious reservations about it, without being nasty about it.
I'm not sure that I see a huge problem with item 1 that you mentioned. It is not, certainly, the normal way for a liturgy to develop. However, the Eastern rights can also not be traced in whole back to the very beginning of Christianity, and has not always held the same form that it does now. Now I know that some people think that Western right Orthodoxy should, if it is going to exist, take a "whole" pre-schism western style rite, which I can see as a resonable solution, though it is perhaps a mistake to make a God of liturgy any more than a God of a particular musical style.

As far as the Episcopal converts, I am not at all surprised that this has been a problem. I can think of any number of ways to possibly address it, though I'm sure it would be impossible to reach everyone.

Yes, doing something very different liturgically would surely make it clear that you were in a different place. It can also be a danger - the problem of making what claims to be a universal church into an ethnic church, by confusing doctrine and practice. This, it seems to me, has been a larger problem for the Orthodox Church than converted Episcopalians who are not adequately serious. And then there are those people who never feel at home in that place, also a rather sad situation, or perhaps worse, those who are attracted because of it's exoticism.

I don't know the answer to this, but it seems to me that this is in fact a major issue in many Orthodox churches. So I suppose I wonder how much that is really what impacts attitudes to a Western style liturgy. This is a case where the Catholic church seems to take the call to universalism a little more seriously, and has very carefully defined what falls under doctrine and what under practice, and they have and number of different types of Catholic churches. Of course it has resulted in some rather nasty liturgics in recent years, although it looks like that may improve in the future.
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 07:10 PM 07-07-2009
Are WR churches in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church or are they a completely different church all together?
Tradd's Avatar Tradd 09:37 PM 07-07-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
Are WR churches in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church or are they a completely different church all together?
WR parishes are totally Orthodox, by most views. They're most under the Antiochian Archdioceses, although there are a few under ROCOR, so that means they're in communion with everyone else. That doesn't mean, however, that others approve. The Greek Archdiocese, for example, has at least one bishop that has stipulated that any WR serving in a GOA parish must be in ER (Eastern Rite) vestments. I believe that one GOA bishop has even forbidden WR priests to serve in his diocese.

The main WR website:
http://www.westernorthodox.com/

The easiest way to think of the WR is to think of them as Byzantine Rite Catholics in reverse (so says Metropolitan Kallistos Ware in The Orthodox Church).
delicate_sunshine's Avatar delicate_sunshine 09:55 PM 07-07-2009
:
Tradd's Avatar Tradd 10:57 PM 07-07-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
I'm not sure that I see a huge problem with item 1 that you mentioned. It is not, certainly, the normal way for a liturgy to develop. However, the Eastern rights can also not be traced in whole back to the very beginning of Christianity, and has not always held the same form that it does now. Now I know that some people think that Western rite Orthodoxy should, if it is going to exist, take a "whole" pre-schism western style rite, which I can see as a resonable solution, though it is perhaps a mistake to make a God of liturgy any more than a God of a particular musical style.

As far as the Episcopal converts, I am not at all surprised that this has been a problem. I can think of any number of ways to possibly address it, though I'm sure it would be impossible to reach everyone.

Yes, doing something very different liturgically would surely make it clear that you were in a different place. It can also be a danger - the problem of making what claims to be a universal church into an ethnic church, by confusing doctrine and practice. This, it seems to me, has been a larger problem for the Orthodox Church than converted Episcopalians who are not adequately serious. And then there are those people who never feel at home in that place, also a rather sad situation, or perhaps worse, those who are attracted because of it's exoticism.

I don't know the answer to this, but it seems to me that this is in fact a major issue in many Orthodox churches. So I suppose I wonder how much that is really what impacts attitudes to a Western style liturgy. This is a case where the Catholic church seems to take the call to universalism a little more seriously, and has very carefully defined what falls under doctrine and what under practice, and they have and number of different types of Catholic churches. Of course it has resulted in some rather nasty liturgics in recent years, although it looks like that may improve in the future.
The most common charge against the WR is the liturgical archaeology. What I mean is this: X doesn't exist in this rite, so we pull it from Y rite. WR ordinations, for example, simply don't exist, because they don't have the WR service for - by which I mean they've not been able to find through their research, etc., an ordination service that would be appropriate, fit, however you want to describe it.

The liturgical archaeology goes hand-in-hand with what could be termed liturgical play-acting. Or maybe nostalgia would be a better term. Some people might say that's what's happened with the Roman Catholics since Vatican II and the resurgence of the Latin Mass. However, as far as I can tell from my research, even if the Latin Mass wasn't regularly being said in every parish anymore, it was still approved for use in various places, or used in monasteries, for example. What the WR are trying to resurrect (or have, depending on your perspective) hasn't been in common use for 1000 years. The WR folks are nostalgic for something they've never known.

The Catholics only have this "universalism," as you term it by accidents of history and politics. The Orthodox in Eastern Europe, particularly on the borders of Ukraine and such, were forced to become subject to the pope due to political realities in the 16th Century. The Eastern Rite Catholics in the Middle East, in Lebanon, for example, were originally Orthodox. But in the 18th Century, for political reasons (protection from the Muslims, I'm told, by folks from the region), a large portion of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch decided to become subject to Rome.

In the late 19th-early 20th Century, Rome wasn't so "open-minded" towards the Eastern Rite Catholics. In the States, the Irish Catholic bishops weren't exactly happy with them. The bishops attempted to get Eastern European Greek Catholic immigrants to attend existing Polish, Hungarian, or Slovak Latin Rite parishes. A decree prohibited married Eastern Catholic priests in the US, and Bishop John Ireland of St. Paul, MN started a mess by refusing to accept the credentials of Fr. Alexis Toth, a Greek Catholic (aka Eastern Rite Catholic) priest, despite the fact that Fr. Alexis was a widower. That started the movement of many Greek Catholics into Orthodoxy. It's estimated that 163 Greek Catholic parishes with approximately 100,000 faithful moved from under Rome to the Russian Orthodox missionary diocese in the US by 1916. Bishop Ireland even tried to get all Greek Catholic clergy expelled from the United States. In fact, as late as the 1930s, another group of Greek Catholics, fearing further Latinizations, petitioned the Ecumenical Patriarch (in Constantinople) and formed the Carpatho-Russian Diocese in America.

A real reason many seekers don't feel at home in Orthodoxy is due to the ethnic situation. Phyletism - churches established on solely ethnic lines - was condemned as a heresy by the Orthodox in 1872, but it's truly a scandal how Orthodoxy has developed in North America, or outside any of the traditionally Orthodox countries (Russia, Greece, Serbia, etc.).

This is a decent, simple history of Orthodoxy in North America:
http://www.oca.org/MVorthchristiansn...ID=1&Chap=OCNA

In the US, the Greeks have the most parishes, but depending on the area of the country, these parishes can be quite the little ethnic bastions. Some areas of the country, such as mine, have a large Greek population, with some continuing immigration from Greece. There are not a few parishes where *everything* is in Greek. When I mean everything, I mean everything - from the sermon, to the Scripture readings, to the annoucements, to even the parish bulletin (although there might be some English in bulletin or the sign out front). Even parishes that use more English in services are very tied to Hellenism. I've gone to Greek parishes - before I knew better - and the first question I usually get when I walk in, is "Are you Greek?" When I answer no, but I'm Orthodox, I often get in response, "I don't care if you're Orthodox. You're not Greek. We no want you here. Out! Out!" I've gotten followed into the bathroom by a woman at a pan-Orthodox event, as she was very intent on finding out my ethnic background. I was recently elected president of our regional pan-Orthodox association, and let me tell you, some of the Greeks are unhappy about a convert leading it!

In other parts of the country, such as Lilyka's parish, it's different. Her Greek parish (she's a convert, too, only about a year ago) is the *only* Orthodox parish of any kind in the entire *state*! It's forced to be pan-Orthodox and use more English out of sheer necessity. From what she's said, the folks there are not as attached to their Greek background.

It's too common for someone interested in Orthodoxy visits a parish - maybe they pick the one that's closest to them - and are totally unwelcomed. I was lucky, I was directed (by a penpal) to a English-language, mostly convert parish, she and her DH had used to attend.

The "you can't be Orthodox if you're not X ethnicity" is very sad. The same mentality also keeps services in a language (or form of a language, such as Koine Greek or Old Church Slavonic) the average lay person can't understand. There's a raging debate over on a Yahoo Orthodox list about Koine Greek or Old Church Slavonic being "sacred languages" and services need to be kept in these languages even if people can't understand them. Good English translations are necessary. The OCA (my "jurisdiction") has good, literary English translations. Thee and Thou are used for the Trinity, but the rest is a modern, but dignified English. I suspect that some of the folks flocking to the Catholic Latin Mass would be OK with an English Mass, if the translation was better and more dignified. You can use the traditional music/melodies, it just takes some work to adapt them to English. It's much more difficult adapting Byzantine chant (in the Greek and Antiochian Orthodox Churches) to English text, due to the nature of the music. But it's being done. In the OCA (a daughter of the Russian Orthodox Church that got it's independence from the Moscow Patriarchate in 1970), this has been a work of about 60 years, and we've now got a large number of Russian melodies that were adapted for English text (it's a little bit easier since Russian melodies are closer to western music), and even now, American Orthodox composers writing totally new melodies based on the traditional Russian models. One of my favorite composers is a Native American Orthodox priest in the back bush in Alaska!

My priest tells how he visited the other Orthodox parish in our suburb several years ago, a Greek parish. He's a big tall, bearded fellow of Slav ancestory, in a cassock with a pectoral cross. A layman who was manning the office that day wouldn't initially let my priest see the Greek priest "because this is a *Greek* parish!" My priest said that the Greek priest finally heard what was going on and told the layman to let my priest come back to see him!

My parish is truly pan-Orthodox. Lots of folks of Slavic Eastern European ancestry (3rd-4th generation). 1/3 of the parish is convert, although a lot of those folks have been Orthodox 15+ years, a good number married to Orthodox. But we've got really good contingent of immigrants from all over - Georgia (the country!), Russian, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova, Ethiopia, etc. No one pulls the "my ethnicity is superior to your ethnicity" routine. If they do, my priest quashes it. It's fine for someone to include their ethnic customs in food at coffee hour, or in folk customs surrounding weddings, baptisms, or funerals, but to make an idol out of the ethnicity? Absolutely not. I've gotten asked - just ONCE - if I was of Russian background due to my physical build (it's actually French-Canadian peasant background, lol!) at my parish, but that's it.

Even though all the immigrants who come could attend a parish of their ethnicity (or close enough) in the area, they choose to come to my parish. Why? They don't understand the much older form of their native tongue that services are done in at the ethnic parishes. They have children who speak English, go to American schools, and they want them to attend services in a language they understand. English truly is the pan-Orthodox language here. Some folks might understand the language of services at the ethnic parishes, but they're married to an American. I can't tell you how many couples I've come across - immigrant fellow married to American Protestant or Catholic woman. The wife tells DH - if you find an English-language parish, I'll convert. Voila! They find an English parish and wife becomes Orthodox.
Tradd's Avatar Tradd 12:00 AM 07-08-2009
Bluegoat, just one more thing - I'm starting a new post since the last one is so long!

You mentioned that the exoticness of Orthodoxy might be enough to turn someone away. Well, I'll admit that the music might not help that, especially in the Greek and Antiochian parishes (use Byzantine chant, although Antiochian parishes will often use some Russian melodies). It can, as an Antiochian chanter friend says, "sound like a souk [Middle Eastern open air market] at noon"!

Russian chant has four part harmony and sounds much more familiar to western ears. Four part harmony if a mixed choir, but sometimes just men.

Russian melody in English (men's chorale from St. Vladimir's Seminary):

http://www.musicarussica.com/multime.../i84_trk02.mp3

Byzantine chant in English (same chorale - they do some Byzantine at SVS), simpler chant version:

http://www.musicarussica.com/multime.../i84_trk17.mp3

Mixed choir, Russian melody:
http://www.musicarussica.com/multime.../i75_trk23.mp3

Byzantine chant (women) - a trio of Greek-Americans (2 are priest wives):
http://www.musicarussica.com/multime.../I74_trk02.mp3

The same female trio (in Greek):
http://www.musicarussica.com/multime.../I74_trk14.mp3

Personally, I prefer Russian to Byzantine. But Fr. Apostolos Hill (a convert priest in the Greek Archdiocese) has made some really nice recordings of Byzantine chant in English that I like a lot.

http://www.liturgica.com//mp3/AB001/AB001_15.mp3

http://www.liturgica.com//mp3/AB074/AB074_16.mp3

http://www.liturgica.com//mp3/AB050/AB050_08.mp3

This last is from my absolutely favorite CD, "Lay Aside All Earthly Cares." The melodies are all written by an OCA priest, Fr. Sergei Glagolev, American-born, whose music I love AND I get to sing it at my church. :-)

http://www.liturgica.com//mp3/AJ024/AJ024_01.mp3

http://www.liturgica.com//mp3/AJ024/AJ024_16.mp3

This is the CD:
http://www.liturgica.com/cart/musicInfo.jsp?catNo=AJ024
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 01:07 AM 07-08-2009
the exotic other-worldliness also draws a lot of people. in the end the Orthodox church doesn't care about peoples tastes because we are not there to please ourselves but to please God. i love that it takes me out of everything that is familiar and common to me. Sometimes that really challeneges me. Either way I believe the Orthodox church is the one true church and even if the whole thing was in pig latin and the chanting was a harsh shrillness it wouldn't matter because i am there to be a part of something bigger then me.
Bluegoat's Avatar Bluegoat 12:28 PM 07-08-2009
Yes, I think that liturgical archeology is a difficulty, and can cause difficult situations. It's not a natural way for liturgy to develop, and I think good English translations are likely a better answer. But I don't think it is the sole focus of the idea of a Western Rite. Music, vestments, and also artistic forms have a high degree of cultural relativity. What would be the difficulty, for example, with using a more Western style of chanting in a Western right parish. There are lots of good existing examples, and they are, as you pointed out, easier to adapt to English.

I know at the little parish near here, which consists of converts, it is a bit weird to see a large number of Westerners wearing Eastern vestments, singing Eastern music, and even preparing Eastern foods for holidays. Now, it isn't a totally unmixed parish and there are reasons they have taken that rout, but there is something about it which seems very close to that nostalgia you spoke of with liturgy. It's kind of a constructed culture.

I think when I was thinking of people not feeling at home, it was not so much a matter of being turned off. But rather, giving up a perfectly valid and good expression of religious faith, even when it is perfectly within the bounds of Orthodoxy. People do this of course, because they believe that the Orthodoxy part is more important than the trappings, which is undoubtedly correct. But it seems to me it is impoverishing rather than filling up, and shouldn't happen if it can be avoided.

I have no problem with people having exotic tastes, or enjoying different cultural expressions. But it is not uncommon to see people attracted to the exotic in religion, almost as a kind of gnosticism, an attitude of well, they people in culture X must have more spiritual insight, because they are so different. Young people are often attracted to obscure religions for that reason, and it is not a good thing. But it was rather an aside.

Incidentally, I was told recently that most people that use the Western Rite were actually Orthodox before they started using that form of worship. Perhaps they just cause less controversy?
Tradd's Avatar Tradd 03:25 PM 07-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Incidentally, I was told recently that most people that use the Western Rite were actually Orthodox before they started using that form of worship. Perhaps they just cause less controversy?
According to the Western Rite priest I had a chance to talk to a lot, the majority of Western Rite folks are former Episcopalians/Anglicans, with a smattering of former Lutherans or Roman Catholics, who go directly from their former affiliation into the WR. While you might have a few convert folks who were in Eastern Rite parishes who then switched to the WR, once a WR parish opened, most WR folks go directly into the WR, not through the ER, aside from maybe some visits, etc.

The WR is actually a very controversial form of worship within Orthodoxy. Are you talking about controversy inside or outside Orthodoxy?

When you refer to Eastern music in the parish you visited, are you talking Russian music or Byzantine chant? Much of Russian music can't exactly be called "eastern" as there were extremely heavy influences from Western European musicians/composers, especially Italians, particularly after Peter the Great "opened" Russia to the West.

Yes, you're going to get the ER vestments. There's no way around that. They're actually not that different from vestments used in Roman Catholicism, although you won't see the "burlap sack vestments" (the awful plain beige ones the Catholic priests often wore when I was growing up Catholic).

The food part of a culture is something I'm not going to mess with. A lot of folks like to experience other cultures, and as far as I'm concerned, food is the easiest way to do it. I assume you've seen the Russian kulich (sweet egg bread) and paska (a sweet cream-cheesy spread) at Pascha (Easter). If the parish is mixed cradle-convert, then the cradles have probably spread some of their food traditions to the converts. I've never attempted kulich, but I do make a sweet egg Greek Easter bread, coiled with a red dyed egg on the top (baked that way). There are Slavic traditions for the Pascha basket (this is generally not a Greek tradition), but you pretty much just put things into it that you couldn't eat during Great Lent - some sort of meat, cheese, eggs, milk chocolate, that sort of thing. I know folks who put pizza or Taco Bell in their baskets (especially if their kids want those things). There's no harm, IMO, in taking on some food traditions from other cultures. I was in an Antiochian parish with exposure to immigrant Arab Orthodox and their food for long enough, that I got me a cookbook and learned how to cook Middle Eastern food.

Orthodoxy is not bound to any culture. Those folks who can't separate their culture/ethnicity from Orthodoxy (there are real historical reasons for this) do real harm to the faith and how it's perceived. There are certain things, mostly surrounding liturgical practice, like vestments or music, that cannot be just dumped. The Orthodox in America in the OCA and the Antiochians generally have a fair measure of musical freedom. I personally know of 2 OCA parishes (Russian tradition) who use virtually all Byzantine chant. It's not uncommon for Antiochian parishes to use half Russian music. Lots of parishes have a mix of both Russian and Byzantine chant. An "American Orthodoxy" in both practice and music is developing, but as Orthodoxy has only been in North America (in Russia Alaska) since 1794, it's going to take some time. A great deal has happened in the past 30-40 years. We've now got American composers in the OCA/Antiochians that are composing directly for English texts, rather than tweaking music for English. These melodies are based on the traditional forms, but are both new and old, iykwim?

But there is also the danger of throwing out too much of the Tradition/traditions. Bishops, clergy, and laity are slowly sifting through things and we realize that the entire small t traditions don't have to be whole-heartedly swallowed, but some hierarchs are pretty much forcing the abandonment of certain things and this is causing issues (this has been somewhat an issue in the Antiochian Archdiocese). I wouldn't call it a constructed culture, as you noted, but Orthodoxy outside of the traditionally Orthodox countries is still very much feeling its way. The situation here, is much different than in Greece, for example, where Orthodoxy is the state religion.
Tradd's Avatar Tradd 03:39 PM 07-08-2009
Bluegoat wrote: What would be the difficulty, for example, with using a more Western style of chanting in a Western right parish. There are lots of good existing examples, and they are, as you pointed out, easier to adapt to English.

<snip>

I think when I was thinking of people not feeling at home, it was not so much a matter of being turned off. But rather, giving up a perfectly valid and good expression of religious faith, even when it is perfectly within the bounds of Orthodoxy. People do this of course, because they believe that the Orthodoxy part is more important than the trappings, which is undoubtedly correct. But it seems to me it is impoverishing rather than filling up, and shouldn't happen if it can be avoided.


The problem is that there has not been an Orthodox WR for 1000 years. The Anglican use (Liturgy of St. Tikhon) WR folks simply decided to use the American Episcopalian Hymnal 1940. Since there was no previously existing WR, they're pulling stuff from everywhere, and it's really questionable among Orthodox theologians if the WR folks have a coherent whole that makes any sense.

While the Western Christian style of worship is a "valid" form of liturgical expression, it's not Orthodox in that it's not existed in Orthodoxy for centuries.

You mention that the converts into ER Orthodoxy appear to have a constructed culture, but the WR folks really do seem to be consumed with a pre-schism nostalgia for the British Isles - Our Lady of Walsingham and all that. It's not so much that there focus is on that region, but there seems to be a conscious choice to ignore Eastern Christian saints/writers as a whole. They'll read Augustine and Ambrose and Bede, but can't be bothered to pick up Chrysostom, at all.
Bluegoat's Avatar Bluegoat 06:52 PM 07-09-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
Bluegoat wrote: What would be the difficulty, for example, with using a more Western style of chanting in a Western right parish. There are lots of good existing examples, and they are, as you pointed out, easier to adapt to English.

<snip>

I think when I was thinking of people not feeling at home, it was not so much a matter of being turned off. But rather, giving up a perfectly valid and good expression of religious faith, even when it is perfectly within the bounds of Orthodoxy. People do this of course, because they believe that the Orthodoxy part is more important than the trappings, which is undoubtedly correct. But it seems to me it is impoverishing rather than filling up, and shouldn't happen if it can be avoided.


The problem is that there has not been an Orthodox WR for 1000 years. The Anglican use (Liturgy of St. Tikhon) WR folks simply decided to use the American Episcopalian Hymnal 1940. Since there was no previously existing WR, they're pulling stuff from everywhere, and it's really questionable among Orthodox theologians if the WR folks have a coherent whole that makes any sense.

While the Western Christian style of worship is a "valid" form of liturgical expression, it's not Orthodox in that it's not existed in Orthodoxy for centuries.

You mention that the converts into ER Orthodoxy appear to have a constructed culture, but the WR folks really do seem to be consumed with a pre-schism nostalgia for the British Isles - Our Lady of Walsingham and all that. It's not so much that there focus is on that region, but there seems to be a conscious choice to ignore Eastern Christian saints/writers as a whole. They'll read Augustine and Ambrose and Bede, but can't be bothered to pick up Chrysostom, at all.
And yet the rite has been approved by Orthodox bishops, and it seems that it may be considered for use in the OCA too. Presumably they thought that the Anglican rite did actually have a reasonable historical derivation? Although the very early church liturgies are largely fragmented, I disagree that there is nothing available before the 11th century that has any kind of completeness/validity. And the problem exists for Eastern liturgies too if you are looking to earliness of use as a sign of validity.

I'm not sure if the fact that it hasn't existed in Orthodoxy for 1000 years is relevant on it's own. It would suggest that only what is done now is Orthodox, which seems a bit odd. It would rather imply too that nothing new could come about (say, African Orthodox music?) which seems unlikely as a position as well.

I would also suggest that the Orthodox tend to ignore western theologians who were part of the pre-schismatic church, dismissing them as somehow inferior or even heretical. Augustine is often attacked as being a Neoplatonist, (which is a bit funny given that a well regarded text in the East is The Divine Names), for example. I suspect that the Westerners find many of the Eastern Fathers obscure and hard to understand and so that is part of the reason they don't read them, though who knows.

I'm not sure what you are getting at about music in the pp? I don't have a problem with any music found in Orthodox Churches, stylisticlly? I don't think it's true that there is no early Western stuff available though - Gregorian chant, though codified in the 10 -13th centuries, is actually rather older than that.
mamabadger's Avatar mamabadger 09:55 PM 07-09-2009
True, Orthodoxy is not limited to one period in history or bound to any one culture. On the other hand, the west has been non-Orthodox for so long, care has to be taken to distinguish what is pre-schism Western from what is Catholic or Protestant. That may not even be possible in every case. A thousand year separation is a big barrier to overcome. Reconnecting with Old Believers is a struggle, and their separation from Orthodoxy was less complete and much shorter.
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 02:36 AM 12-31-2009

kaleidoscopeeyes's Avatar kaleidoscopeeyes 06:01 PM 01-16-2010


Thank you, thank you, thank you for this thread!
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 07:28 PM 01-16-2010
if you have any questions let me know. If you like I can PM you a link to a messege board that is all about Orthodoxy. its a very imformative sweet place but I am not sure if it would come up on a search.
kaleidoscopeeyes's Avatar kaleidoscopeeyes 11:38 PM 01-17-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
if you have any questions let me know. If you like I can PM you a link to a messege board that is all about Orthodoxy. its a very imformative sweet place but I am not sure if it would come up on a search.
I would love a link to the message board if you get a chance.
umsami's Avatar umsami 12:14 PM 01-20-2010
OK... just saw this... and since DH is Egyptian, thought I'd add a little bit about the Copts. (Orthodox Christians in Egypt.... Coptic Church of Alexandria). It was established by Saint Mark in the 1st century... or so tradition goes. It's headed by a Pope.... who has this very snazzy title of Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy See of Saint Mark.

They're known for having the oldest Catechetical school.... and basically, a lot of the early Christian scholars studied there... debated there... etc. The Copts are also the fathers of monasticism.

There is a difference in belief (or so I'm lead to believe) on Christology between the Copts and the Eastern Orthodox. The Copts believe (copying from Wiki):

Quote:
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria believes that Christ is perfect in His divinity, and He is perfect in His humanity, but His divinity and His humanity were united in one nature called "the nature of the incarnate word", which was reiterated by Saint Cyril of Alexandria.

Copts, thus, believe in two natures "human" and "divine" that are united in one hypostasis "without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration"
.

They follow the Julian calendar... and they fast a lot. 210 days per year! (Although it's not the same as Muslim fasting. When we fast, usually one wakes up prior to sunrise...eats breakfast...drinks a ton of water... and then has nothing until sunset. After sunset, people break their fast with water/milk and dates or soup (usually lentil)... then have a big meal. In Coptic Christian fasting, it's more like being vegan a lot. You can read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting..._of_Alexandria

Of course, if there are any Copts on the boards, I'm sure they can contribute more. I've learned a bit from Egyptians in this country who are Copts... .an Egyptian cookbook I have... and just curiosity.

On a side note..and a good step towards tolerance, the Grand Mufti of Egypt (head Muslim guy) a few years ago said that Muslims who do decide to convert to Christianity (which in Egypt, usually means Coptic) should not be punished. That may sound normal to you and me, but it's a big step in improving tolerance/freedom.
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 07:42 PM 01-20-2010
actually the situation in Egypt is very very bad right now. Christians are under very heavy persecutions by Muslims and many died after nativity services when a religously motivated group opened fire into a group of deacons. services had been intentionally finished early due to threats and increasing violence. Had it not been many more people may have lain dead. The Orthodox Christians are under heavy persecution in Egypt and I fear the Christmas eve slayings were only the beginning.
umsami's Avatar umsami 08:48 PM 01-20-2010
Copts actually are a pretty protected minority in Egypt. The only religious minority which really is persecuted are the Bahais. Copts have access to pretty much any position/job, university, etc. Coptic Christian holidays are official holidays along with Muslim holidays.

There have been incidents in Upper Egypt, which contrary to common belief, is actually in the South, between both parties. Amnesty International calls it sporadic violence... and there are incidents initiated by both parties. It's an area known for vendetta and honor killings. The violence in Nag Hammadi over Christmas was over the rape of a 12 year old Muslim girl by a Coptic Christian man, Girgis Baroumi Girgis, in November. (His trial was recently postponed, BTW.)

Do I think those six people deserved to die? Absolutely not. Do I think it was wrong that this happened at a church on a religious day? Absolutely. Vendetta violence and violence in general is wrong... but this did not start out of a "let's get the Coptic Christians." There was the kidnapping and rape of a 12 year old child first.
mamabadger's Avatar mamabadger 01:08 AM 01-21-2010
Quote:
Copts, thus, believe in two natures "human" and "divine" that are united in one hypostasis "without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration"
To be more specific, Copts are Monophysites. They believe that Jesus' two natures were united, but since one of those natures was divine, it naturally overwhelmed his human nature. Therefore, they believe Jesus did not suffer, die, or experience any human weaknesses, although he may have appeared to do so in the eyes of observers. This belief can be seen in Coptic icons of the Crucifixion, in which Jesus is actually smiling while nailed to the cross, to demonstrate that he is not experiencing human suffering. The Orthodox view, on the other hand, is that Jesus Christ was divine but also fully human.
Quote:
They follow the Julian calendar... and they fast a lot. 210 days per year!
Most Orthodox also follow the Julian calendar (although many jurisdictions use the "new" or Gregorian calendar, the secular calendar we all use), and fast "vegan" style about half the days of the year in all.
umsami's Avatar umsami 02:01 AM 01-21-2010
mamabadger, I know there have been quite a few studies done on the health aspects of following the Seventh Day Adventist diet/lifestyle... as well as a few done on LDS/Mormons. Do you know of any regarding Orthodox Christians as well? I would assume that if they are vegan half of the year, that there would be less incidence of heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
kaleidoscopeeyes's Avatar kaleidoscopeeyes 05:02 AM 01-21-2010
Funnily enough, the only orthodox person I've ever known was Coptic. I think that may be why I was under the false impression that all Orthodox Churches were autonomous as opposed to autocephalous. The Julian calendar and the fasting were fascinating to me. Fasting in the RCC is pretty lax. My calender from the Church defines fasting as "one full meal and two small meals allowed" and abstinence as "no meat." We only fast less than 10 days a year. He was dating a friend of mine (who is Muslim) and the religious difference was too big for him, so I've lost touch with him. It would be nice to be able to pick is brain about some of the things I've been reading even though I'm focused more on the Eastern Orthodox tradition. No one I know IRL knows anything about the Orthodox Church, save what they saw in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Yay for MBs!
kitchen's Avatar kitchen 05:32 AM 01-21-2010
Just found this thread (and this forum). Glad to see there are other Orthodox ladies here!
Liquesce's Avatar Liquesce 06:12 AM 01-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
Copts actually are a pretty protected minority in Egypt.
This is actually pretty true. The religious situation in Egypt is complicated, but it has a lot more to do with strong social segregation leading to a total lack of comprehension of social groups different from one's own than persecution. What is between Copts and Muslims in Egypt is not so different from what is between different sects of Muslims there, between clan affiliations in southern Egypt, between socioeconomic classes, on some levels between genders, etc. While obviously there can be very different implications for a 10% that is so utterly "othered" by a 90% than for a 90% othered by the 10%, the root of the problem is the segregation that is so totally socially acceptable on all sides. Keeping away from people not like yourself is practically a national pastime.

(Butting back out, 'cause I know this all has nothing to do with the actual thread ... )
Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 07:45 PM 01-21-2010
So funny to see this thread still going after almost 6 years. And I'm glad I'm better informed than when I started it LOL
1  2  3 4 

Up