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Anyone else struggle/ dislike Eatern Rite liturgy?

truthseeker32

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I lurk over at TAW at christianforums every now and again and one of the Orthodox contributors, voicing his struggles with Orthodoxy and life, mentioned that he isn't a big fan of Orthodox liturgy. I find this interesting, given that many Orthodox converts I have spoken to speak of the Divine Liturgy in such glowing terms, often identifying it as one of the primary reasons for their conversion. At the same time it resonates with me, since I was drawn to the church not by liturgics but my theological and historical study. I could honestly care less about what rite my parish uses as long as it is canonical. Is there anyone here who has similar feelings to the TAW poster? Are any of you Orthodox Christians struggling to love the Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy?
 

Alpo

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It took several years to get used to it. It's my home now but I can certainly symphatize with those who prefer with other forms of worship.
 

TheTrisagion

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I love the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.  My caveat would be that I love it in English.  I think I would probably get pretty bored if I would have to go and listen to it in a language I didn't understand.  I wonder if that is his issue or if there is some other aspect that he does not like.
 

truthseeker32

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TheTrisagion said:
I love the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.  My caveat would be that I love it in English.  I think I would probably get pretty bored if I would have to go and listen to it in a language I didn't understand.  I wonder if that is his issue or if there is some other aspect that he does not like.
I am not sure what he dislikes about it, TBH. All he has said is he prefers Roman Catholic Mass, but he is too far away to attend a Western Rite Orthodox parish. I once attended a parish where the longest part of the Divine Liturgy was the priest's sermon. It was not unusual for his sermon to last an hour. I am much happier in my new home parish where the pastor keeps things short and sweet. Maybe he has a priest who takes too long and he can't handle long liturgies.
 

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TheTrisagion said:
I love the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.  My caveat would be that I love it in English.
On the flip side, I really don't care for DL in English. I'm happy to have it in the first place, but I'd take a Greek DL any day. I've never experienced it in any other language, so I can't say if the effect would trump understanding or the other way around.
 

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I've grown to love and appreciate the Byzantine Liturgy, but for a while early on it just annoyed me since it seemed so long and repetitive. The smells and bells wore off , and took awhile to seem nice again.
 

truthseeker32

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Nephi said:
I've grown to love and appreciate the Byzantine Liturgy, but for a while early on it just annoyed me since it seemed so long and repetitive. The smells and bells wore off , and took awhile to seem nice again.
I can definitely relate. Certain liturgies often leave me tired and irritated because of the length and repetition. I often find myself thinking "Is it really necessary to say that same prayer 10 times in a row? I got it the first time." I have found solace in Greek liturgy. They are good at keeping things concise.
 

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Maybe he never sang in choir or served. Could be he's being drawn towards a different role to take during services.  Lots of churches here use congregational singing in styles from the old world.
Keeps everyone involved and not just standing there listening to a choir.
 

Alveus Lacuna

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Honestly, just the regular liturgy seems short to me these days compared to how it used to feel. It seems like it flies by. If I didn't have kids I would try to take on Vigil/Matins/Vespers stuff, but my small kids make that an impossibility for me currently.
 

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username! said:
Maybe he never sang in choir or served. Could be he's being drawn towards a different role to take during services.  Lots of churches here use congregational singing in styles from the old world.
Keeps everyone involved and not just standing there listening to a choir.
I think that there is a lot to what you have written here.  Involving the faithful in the Liturgy is very important, and something that is often missed (like in the Serbian Church that I attend).  The Liturgy should be a "common work" of the people, and not a concert put on by the priest and the choir. 
 

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I personally took a couple of years to appreciate the Divine Liturgy and still have a slight preference for the Traditional Latin mass.
I also don't care much for the DL in English, probably a remnant from my Trad Catholic upbringing. I enjoy the feeling of timelessness and Catholicity of the DL in the Ancient Greek.
Again my trad Cat upbringing shows in DL participation- I don't feel comfortable with it. I don't want to have to sing anything. I like having the choir sing- it allows me the privilege of praying and preparing for the mysteries without being expected to do 'something'.
I am most grateful to those who do these things on our behalf.
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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The liturgy doesn't matter to me, truth does. If Orthodoxy is the truth, then I'll accept the whole package deal. Same with Rome, even though their liturgy is...  8)
 

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I love the Eastern Liturgy, and I see the repetition as a deep expression of the affective (not effective) aspect of the human person's love of God. When one falls in love, one does not tire of expressing that love over and over. Perhaps, because of human weakness, we tire of heartfelt expressions, but the Liturgy helps make up for that.
 

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Arachne said:
TheTrisagion said:
I love the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.  My caveat would be that I love it in English.
On the flip side, I really don't care for DL in English. I'm happy to have it in the first place, but I'd take a Greek DL any day. I've never experienced it in any other language, so I can't say if the effect would trump understanding or the other way around.
I also prefer the Greek.
 

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Maria said:
Arachne said:
TheTrisagion said:
I love the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.  My caveat would be that I love it in English.
On the flip side, I really don't care for DL in English. I'm happy to have it in the first place, but I'd take a Greek DL any day. I've never experienced it in any other language, so I can't say if the effect would trump understanding or the other way around.
I also prefer the Greek.
If we're talking 'druthers, I prefer it in English, Greek and Arabic, with the Arabic overly ornamented and the Greek slightly off-key -- as I learned it.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Arachne said:
TheTrisagion said:
I love the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.  My caveat would be that I love it in English.
On the flip side, I really don't care for DL in English. I'm happy to have it in the first place, but I'd take a Greek DL any day. I've never experienced it in any other language, so I can't say if the effect would trump understanding or the other way around.
My recent experience is something of a mix of these two preferences.  I prefer the idea of Liturgy in English because I understand it (and my private prayers are always in English, even when I think it would be nice to use another language for certain prayers now and then).  But when I actually attend a Liturgy in English these days, I find that my ability to join in and pray the Liturgy is somewhat impaired.  On the other hand, I am able to pray the Liturgy better when it is in another language, whether or not I understand the language, and whether or not any English is used at all.  It wasn't always like that for me, but that's what it is for now.  I find it amusing.  :)
 

Mor Ephrem

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Punch said:
username! said:
Maybe he never sang in choir or served. Could be he's being drawn towards a different role to take during services.  Lots of churches here use congregational singing in styles from the old world.
Keeps everyone involved and not just standing there listening to a choir.
I think that there is a lot to what you have written here.  Involving the faithful in the Liturgy is very important, and something that is often missed (like in the Serbian Church that I attend).  The Liturgy should be a "common work" of the people, and not a concert put on by the priest and the choir. 
+100
 

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I like it. It does look lovely and holy from watching the Divine Liturgy of various Churches  on youtube.  :(
 

Maria

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Avdima said:
I like it. It does look lovely and holy from watching the Divine Liturgy of various Churches  on youtube.  :(
Being there to hear the bells, chants, and devout prayers ascending to heaven, smell the incense, see the glorious vestments and tears flow from people's eyes, and then taste and touch the very Blood and Blood of Christ on your lips is awesome. You absolutely must attend, not merely watch.
 
R

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The moment of truth.

I went to a Catholic Mass and an Orthodox Liturgy.

My first Orthodox Liturgy was bad experience, as I got out after few minutes because I was lost.

However the next times were better, but so far non of them was as good as the Catholic Mass.

I have to admit that I don't like the Eastern Liturgy because it is too complicated, so many things going on there and it is very easy to lose track. I didn't feel that connected.

In case one day I became Orthodox, I might go to the Western Rite of Orthodoxy.

Sometimes I thought I'm attracted to the Eastern theology and customs, and other times I thought I'm attracted to the West. However, when it comes to it, I'm more attracted to the West than the East.

 

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Admittedly I struggled with the concept of only attending a "Byzantine" liturgy, but I got past that once I realized that It's probably closer to the earliest Christian worship in the west than even the pre-Vatican II Catholic Liturgy.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Sam G said:
Admittedly I struggled with the concept of only attending a "Byzantine" liturgy, but I got past that once I realized that It's probably closer to the earliest Christian worship in the west than even the pre-Vatican II Catholic Liturgy.
How did you come to that realisation? 
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Sam G said:
Admittedly I struggled with the concept of only attending a "Byzantine" liturgy, but I got past that once I realized that It's probably closer to the earliest Christian worship in the west than even the pre-Vatican II Catholic Liturgy.
How did you come to that realisation? 
Well, on one hand the Filioque is recited in the creed, unleavened bread is used, the celebrant priest is celibate, etc...

But in all seriousness, take for instance the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, compiled by St. Gregory the Great.  When I attended it, besides the obvious absence of the consecration of the gifts, I really got the feeling that it was cut from the same cloth as the Eastern Liturgies.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Sam G said:
Mor Ephrem said:
How did you come to that realisation? 
Well, on one hand the Filioque is recited in the creed, unleavened bread is used, the celebrant priest is celibate, etc...
But none of those really have to do with the rite.

But in all seriousness, take for instance the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, compiled by St. Gregory the Great.  When I attended it, besides the obvious absence of the consecration of the gifts, I really got the feeling that it was cut from the same cloth as the Eastern Liturgies.
That's because it is.  :p
 

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Sam G said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Sam G said:
Admittedly I struggled with the concept of only attending a "Byzantine" liturgy, but I got past that once I realized that It's probably closer to the earliest Christian worship in the west than even the pre-Vatican II Catholic Liturgy.
How did you come to that realisation? 
Well, on one hand the Filioque is recited in the creed, unleavened bread is used, the celebrant priest is celibate, etc...

But in all seriousness, take for instance the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, compiled by St. Gregory the Great.  When I attended it, besides the obvious absence of the consecration of the gifts, I really got the feeling that it was cut from the same cloth as the Eastern Liturgies.
Not to mention that medieval Western liturgy has the same element of mystery and veiling, what with the rood screen and altar curtain, that the various Eastern rites do (an element which was abolished, with almost all of the aforementioned screens and curtains, at Trent).
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Sam G said:
Mor Ephrem said:
How did you come to that realisation? 
Well, on one hand the Filioque is recited in the creed, unleavened bread is used, the celebrant priest is celibate, etc...
But none of those really have to do with the rite.
True.

 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Sam G said:
Admittedly I struggled with the concept of only attending a "Byzantine" liturgy, but I got past that once I realized that It's probably closer to the earliest Christian worship in the west than even the pre-Vatican II Catholic Liturgy.
How did you come to that realisation? 
It reminds me of the French Fr. Louis-Marie Chauvet who didn't seem to care much for the traditional Latin Rite, and clearly so as a Vatican II-era proponent of "reform." He called it "cluttered" with archaic and obsolete trappings that grew to obscure the Mass, which could no longer relate to modern human experience, and also IIRC barely resembled the early Church anymore (I believe he was effectively an antiquarian primitivist in this regard). He no doubt would've said the same about all other traditional rites, though.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Nephi said:
He called it "cluttered" with archaic and obsolete trappings that grew to obscure the Mass, which could no longer relate to modern human experience, and also IIRC barely resembled the early Church anymore (I believe he was effectively an antiquarian primitivist in this regard). He no doubt would've said the same about all other traditional rites, though.
These people...
 

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I like the simplicity and quiet of the traditional mass. I also like Romanesque and early Gothic churches. Statues and crucifixes are nice too. Also(and take this from a novice psalti), long melismata and showy Byzantine chant often seem to distract from the point.

Shoot me.
 

truthseeker32

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Antonis said:
I like the simplicity and quiet of the traditional mass. I also like Romanesque and early Gothic churches. Statues and crucifixes are nice too. Also(and take this from a novice psalti), long melismata and showy Byzantine chant often seem to distract from the point.

Shoot me.
I won't shoot you. I agree with you.
 

LizaSymonenko

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I prefer the Liturgy in Ukrainian...hands down.

I've been to an OCA parish, where it was all English....and it just didn't hit me like hearing it in Ukrainian.  It's not just my home parish....I've been to many Ukrainian churches and each one made my soul sing.

However, I've participated in Serbian, Romanian, Greek and Antiochian Liturgies, where I didn't understand much of the language, however, I was still not bored, nor was it pointless.

As for the OP, perhaps the individual doesn't "understand" the Divine Liturgy, and what is going on with each prayer, movement, hymn.  Our Liturgies overflow with symbolism, and if you realize what truly is transpiring before you, there would be no way someone would be bored. 

I am usually in awe of what is occurring around me, and humbled to be there....even if my feet hurt, and I'm about to swoon from the heat....it is still an irreplaceable event.
 

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truthseeker32 said:
Antonis said:
I like the simplicity and quiet of the traditional mass. I also like Romanesque and early Gothic churches. Statues and crucifixes are nice too. Also(and take this from a novice psalti), long melismata and showy Byzantine chant often seem to distract from the point.

Shoot me.
I won't shoot you. I agree with you.
Likewise.  I also think that Giovani Gabrieli was not a man, but an angel sent to Earth by God to show man how God should be praised.
 

Alveus Lacuna

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Punch said:
I also think that Giovani Gabrieli was not a man, but an angel sent to Earth by God to show man how God should be praised.
I'll call your Gabrieli and raise you a Gombert:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1uTzJuCAXQ

His Tulerunt Dominum meum might trump any Orthodox Paschal song.

Tulerunt Dominum meum, et nescio ubi posuerunt eum.
Dicunt ei angeli: 'Mulier, quid ploras?
Surrexit, sicut dixit,
praecedet vos in Galilaeam,
ibi eum videbitis.' Alleluja.
Cum ergo fleret, inclinavit se,
et perspexit in monumentum,
et vidit duos angelos sedentes, qui dicunt ei:
'Praecedet vos in Galilaeam,
ibi eum videbitis.' Alleluja.

Per the Rules, please remember to include a translation if you are posting anything in a language other than English, outside of the Foreign Languages Forum.

You are getting a 7-day warning, as this is your first such offense.

If you have any questions about this warning, please send me a PM.

LizaSymonenko
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Per Google Translate:

They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
They say to him the angel, "Woman, why are you weeping?
He is risen, as he said,
before you into Galilee;
there you will see him. ' Hallelujah.
When, therefore, she stooped down, she turned to,
and looked into the tomb;
And she saw two angels sitting there, who say to her:
'He goes before you into Galilee;
there you will see him. ' Hallelujah.

 

Second Chance

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I love the EO liturgy, that is best experienced IMHO in its totality, meaning there is an entry ramp unto it with the matins, hours and pre-communion prayers, the DL itself, and an exit ramp that consists of the post-communion prayers and the Agape meal. Don't take me wrong; I have been late even to the DL, but I feel that I miss something very important if I am not there when the entire church is blessed and I have the opportunity to have my own (unhurried) entrance prayers, veneration of the icons, and lighting my candles.

At the same time, I do not think that I can experience it in its totality if I do not participate in it  as fully as I can, that is by praying silently along with the priest/deacon and singing along with the Choir. In my OCA parish, we also provide the crucial "amens" at the Epiklesis, something that is somewhat of a local custom but nonetheless makes it clear that the common work is truly so and that all common prayers are completed appropriately by the laos. Since I am currently fluent only in English, I prefer it to my mother tongue or any other language.
 

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At the Greek Orthodox church I visit the majority of Divine Liturgy is in English, however the Gospel is read in Greek as well and the Our Father is said in several different languages (English, Greek, Spanish, etc.).  There are other portions of the liturgy where Father chants in Greek that I've noticed but I am still new to the DL and can't pinpoint the places where he does this.  The service in its entirety is so very beautiful as you stand there and take everything in as you worship with those around you . . .I just don't want it to end. I was happy this past Sunday when we had the kneeling service afterward, as I was able to extend my time in the Lord's presence. 
 

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I don't have a distaste for the Eastern liturgy at all and could easily become accustomed to it; however, every time I attend a service, I'm grow in appreciation for Western Rite Orthodoxy. It's my "natural habitat" so to speak.

I have often thought of liturgical context as being akin to a sort of "spiritual ecosphere." A creature which has been the product of, and an organic part of, an ecosphere, thrives there. Remove that creature from its native ecosphere and put it somewhere else, it could surely adapt over time, but that requires that the creature end up turning into something different entirely.

Not a perfect analogy, but those are my thoughts. I'm thankful for the Orthodox Church's wisdom in blessing an authentically Western "ecosphere" for those of us who want to worship the Holy Trinity in Spirit and in Truth from a place where we can remain what we are.
 

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I'm not sure I would like the Greek or Antiochean versions, but I do like the Ukrainian Catholic and "Byzantine" (formerly Ruthenian) Catholic Divine Liturgies. I did attend an OCA parish one week, but something was missing. Maybe the choir being in the loft singing the responses mostly and not everyone all on one level.

It has me wondering why we didn't just translate the Gregorian chants (Propers and Ordinary alike, as it was) to something in English when all the Eastern churches managed to come up with appropriate English versions of their chants ::) Some people are out there trying to remedy that, but even less than the traditionalists that just use the old Latin Mass!

But barring a brutal dictator of a Pope who has a one-track mind for liturgical reform gets elected in my lifetime, I'll just have to deal with the mess as it is  :-\ I will say I think the idea of the "Low" or "private" Mass was the biggest mistake we ever made liturgically because it led to all the others.
 

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I prefer the weekday services with just a chanter or two to the big liturgies with a choir.
 

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spyridon said:
I personally took a couple of years to appreciate the Divine Liturgy and still have a slight preference for the Traditional Latin mass.
I also don't care much for the DL in English, probably a remnant from my Trad Catholic upbringing. I enjoy the feeling of timelessness and Catholicity of the DL in the Ancient Greek.
Again my trad Cat upbringing shows in DL participation- I don't feel comfortable with it. I don't want to have to sing anything. I like having the choir sing- it allows me the privilege of praying and preparing for the mysteries without being expected to do 'something'.
I am most grateful to those who do these things on our behalf.
I could not disagree more. The Orthodox Church expresses its doctrine in its liturgical texts. For that reason, services should be done in a language that the people understand. There is nothing wrong with using a little foreign language for something like the Trisagion the meaning of which everyone knows, but if you cannot understand the various stichera and canons, you are missing a lot of the teaching of the Church which is perfectly expressed in the liturgical texts of our Church.

Fr. John W. Morris.
 

Chrismated

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To my knowledge, the English language has been around in a form, since the time of Christ on Earth, at least, and has been used to spread the Gospel of our Lord in a great way. If someone is happy not knowing what is being said, and likes the "feeling" they get from hearing a foreign language, then God bless them. I personally, think, that if someone is going to speak in a "tongue" or "language" that is not understood, then time should be taken to interpret, as the Bible commands. Of course, it may be written in English, or another language that is common to the local folks, on a bulletin or missal type of reading material, but nonetheless, if we are going to speak in a language that is unknown to the people being spoken to, then either the Holy Spirit will let them hear the words in their own language, or it should be interpreted for them in some easy to understand way. If the Church Congregation cannot understand what it being said, it as "sounding brass".
 
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