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Antiochian Rubrics, Abbreviation options available to the rector

Bob2

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I was having a discussion with an Antiochian priest last week and the subject of certain abbreviations to Matins came up. He stated to me that parishes are expected to follow the rubrics put out by the Archdiocese, and are not to deviate at all, including decreasing certain abbreviations. For instance I had noted that it seemed most Antiochian parishes completely omitted all of the troparia of the canon for Matins, though I have visited at least one Antiochian parish that did do them. He said that under the directive of Metropolitan Joseph the rector didn't have the authority to make any changes to the rubrics posted online, including omitting certain abbreviations.

Is this true, or is this the opinion/interpretation of this particular priest?  If so why? If it exists can anyone link me to the said directive of Met Joseph.

All parishes abbreviate, and I think there are valid pastoral reasons for this, but it seems crazy to me that a parish rector wouldn't have the latitude to do more if he thought it was in the best interest of the parish he served.

Antiochian rubrics for Sunday and major feasts days are found here
 

Deacon Lance

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I could not confirm it is true or not but if it is I expect it is for uniformity throughout the Metropolia and to prevent a priest/parish from becoming prideful because they do more.
 

scamandrius

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As a chanter in an Antiochian parish I have observations of my own.

First, Metropolitan JOSEPH is a traditionalist, so much more than the late Met. PHILIP.  I think he is making changes towards restoration of certain practices that were discouraged by Met. PHILIP but it's going to take time.

Secondly, I also know that Met. JOSEPH is, for lack of a better description, a micro-manager.  He wants things done a certain way and inserts himself into things directly rather than delegate. 

As far as the rubrics go, before the weekly Typikon notes were undertaken by Englewood, we had a number of practices in our parish that we used and have still kept. For instance, on class 3 feasts and higher, we will chant the complete polyeleos.  Also, we regularly chant the kathismata hymns instead of merely read those (the reason why they  are read instead of chanted in the Antiochian church is fascinating).  We will also chant, if there is time, all of psalms 148, 149 and 150 before getting towards the ainoi.  I think a lot of these practices are favored by the Dept. of Sacred Music which is under the leadership of Dcn. John El-Massih who, following his time at Holy Cross  Hellenic College, has made it a point to re-introduce practices of the chanting art which have been left behind by Englewood but retained by the GOA. 

The abbreviation does really bother me in Orthodoxy in general.  I see no reason why a parish, if it wishes to, cannot do the Canon of the Resurrection at Orthros in addition to the seasonal katavasiae.  Does this hinder the faith?  Absolutely not.  However, one of the big reasons why I think this attitude of "stick to what is written" is simply because there are a lot of convert priests in the AANA from the Evangelical Orthodox Church, most of whom were made priests without having gone to seminary (a big mistake, IMHO) and who do not know the liturgy apart from text.  So this rigid adherence is mainly for them simply because most of them do not know the ins and outs of the Eastern Liturgical Tradition.  This also leads to a problem for parishioners who are being introduced to what i call a "half-assed" Orthodoxy when it comes to the liturgical life of the Church.  Most people in an Antiochian church have never been to a vigil or know what one is.  I know from personal experience of people who have moved and/or gone to another jurisdiction and are just taken completely by surprise by their liturgical practices which are more in keeping with liturgical tradition instead of the abbreviations they have mainly been subjected to.  Much of the blame does lie with the late Met. PHILIP who, I believe, was trying to use these deviations from the liturgical norm to bring more Americans into Orthodoxy (he was very evangelical in that sense) but since that time the deviations have become the norm.  It's a rather unfortunate thing that has happened in the Antiochian church here and one that is going to have more cons than pros. However, I do think there are people in positions set for positive changes to be made but it's going to take time.

If you're interested in more of my take on this, feel free to PM me.
 

Bob2

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scamandrius said:
As a chanter in an Antiochian parish I have observations of my own.

First, Metropolitan JOSEPH is a traditionalist, so much more than the late Met. PHILIP.  I think he is making changes towards restoration of certain practices that were discouraged by Met. PHILIP but it's going to take time.

Secondly, I also know that Met. JOSEPH is, for lack of a better description, a micro-manager.  He wants things done a certain way and inserts himself into things directly rather than delegate. 

As far as the rubrics go, before the weekly Typikon notes were undertaken by Englewood, we had a number of practices in our parish that we used and have still kept. For instance, on class 3 feasts and higher, we will chant the complete polyeleos.  Also, we regularly chant the kathismata hymns instead of merely read those (the reason why they  are read instead of chanted in the Antiochian church is fascinating).  We will also chant, if there is time, all of psalms 148, 149 and 150 before getting towards the ainoi.  I think a lot of these practices are favored by the Dept. of Sacred Music which is under the leadership of Dcn. John El-Massih who, following his time at Holy Cross  Hellenic College, has made it a point to re-introduce practices of the chanting art which have been left behind by Englewood but retained by the GOA. 

The abbreviation does really bother me in Orthodoxy in general.  I see no reason why a parish, if it wishes to, cannot do the Canon of the Resurrection at Orthros in addition to the seasonal katavasiae.  Does this hinder the faith?  Absolutely not.  However, one of the big reasons why I think this attitude of "stick to what is written" is simply because there are a lot of convert priests in the AANA from the Evangelical Orthodox Church, most of whom were made priests without having gone to seminary (a big mistake, IMHO) and who do not know the liturgy apart from text.  So this rigid adherence is mainly for them simply because most of them do not know the ins and outs of the Eastern Liturgical Tradition.  This also leads to a problem for parishioners who are being introduced to what i call a "half-assed" Orthodoxy when it comes to the liturgical life of the Church.  Most people in an Antiochian church have never been to a vigil or know what one is.  I know from personal experience of people who have moved and/or gone to another jurisdiction and are just taken completely by surprise by their liturgical practices which are more in keeping with liturgical tradition instead of the abbreviations they have mainly been subjected to.  Much of the blame does lie with the late Met. PHILIP who, I believe, was trying to use these deviations from the liturgical norm to bring more Americans into Orthodoxy (he was very evangelical in that sense) but since that time the deviations have become the norm.  It's a rather unfortunate thing that has happened in the Antiochian church here and one that is going to have more cons than pros. However, I do think there are people in positions set for positive changes to be made but it's going to take time.

If you're interested in more of my take on this, feel free to PM me.
The rational that this priest used was that, since many priests/choirs/chanters didn't know how to put the services together due to lack of adequate training in the Archdiocese' early days on the NA continent, that if people started deviating from the rubrics it would be, in his words, ""the liturgical wild west."

It seems that the solution to liturgical illiteracy was not to help people learn to better understand how the services work, but to make it so they didn't have to. Which seems unfortunate.

As for abbreviations, all parishes abbreviate to some extent, and I think there can be good pastoral reasons for doing so, but I think you should always at least know what it is you are cutting out.
 
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