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Liturgical Problems in the Syriac Orthodox church.

Stephen Philips

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As faithful of the Oriental Orthodox church, I think it is perfectly reasonable that we are fully aware of the extreme liturgical problems that have, and are taking place in Latin America. The following videos are Divine Liturgies conducted by the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Central America, and the Syriac Orthodox Mission Archdiocese of Brazil

Personally, I have full confidence that the Syriac Holy Synod will discuss this issue and rectify it. However I feel it beneficial that we, the general people of the Oriental Orthodox church are aware that such practices are being tolerated at the moment.
Though the human aspect of these Liturgies are severely lacking in reverence and richness, God's work in the Divine Liturgy remains undisturbed.

God willing, efforts to correct this may be speeded by knowledge of this problem becoming more common.
 

Stephen Philips

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Hello there. I noticed from your bio that you are Anglican. The Orthodox Churches have maintained and developed several rich traditions of celebrating the Divine Liturgy, which were shaped by our saints. This development based itself off of the original rubric from the Apostles themselves. If you don’t believe me, check out the Didache, where you will find an apostolic Eucharistic prayer. Anyway, this kind of extreme simplification of liturgy has no precedent in Orthodoxy. More than that, the kinds of songs that are supplemented, and the constant background music, attempts to create an emotional state. Anyway this is a huge issue that to be honest, I don’t really understand. I know that the diocese of Central America was formerly a Schismatic Catholic group before it joined Syriac Orthodoxy in 2013. As for Brazil, they are already trying to phase out all liturgical irregularities. They are currently in a phase where they ordain new clergy to conduct the proper Syriac rite.
 

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I am not a liturgy expert. What am I seeing here? The praise band stuff?
Yes, and also the incredibly animated preaching. It is very atypical for an Orthodox liturgy. Dispassion is what we're trying to accomplish, not the stirring up of passions. Our energy, if you will, is supposed to be deeper, less perceptible but still strong. Our whole life of faith is supposed to reflect that concept.
 

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Anyway, I heard from a well-informed Syriac person, who’s studying to be a priest, that the Holy Synod will discuss this issue soon. So I believe that the whole thing is on the road to being resolved, and the Latin Americans will be restored to the richness our church has to offer.
 

Dominika

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If it was one of ancient Western rites adopted by Syriac Orthodox Church, ok... But this is something that looks uncanonically and like larping.
 

Stephen Philips

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If it was one of ancient Western rites adopted by Syriac Orthodox Church, ok... But this is something that looks uncanonically and like larping.
I don’t think it was “introduced by the Syriac Orthodox Church.” My understanding is that, in Brazil, it was adopted by convert clergy who were left without the guidance of a bishop for a long period of time. The diocese in Brazil is phasing it out now, and they only ordain new priests to do the proper Syriac rite. The other situation is that of Central America, where a Schismatic Catholic group was accepted into Oriental Orthodoxy without fully adopting the Syriac rite.

The first two videos show parishes in Brazil

The last one shows a parish under the Archdiocese of Central America

I have been told that the Syriac Holy Synod will discuss these kinds of liturgical issues soon. What you see will be fixed.
 

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Many of our churches have been influenced by Protestantism over the last decades, including the Coptic Orthodox Church. It seems to me that one aspect of the reordering of our church life is to be positive about our traditions, and to present them in the language of the people. Not exclusively but so that people can actually engage in worship.

As the churches become better educated in patristics and the Tradition it seems to me there is less scope for adopting Protestant ideas which include worship simply because there is a vacuum being filled with non-Orthodox teachings and practice.

It does also require more of an emphasis on Orthodox practice in worship. As if it is something beautiful and fruitful. This has to be part of discipleship more than just instruction in what we do. We need to teach why. Why do we use liturgy? How is it necessary to the spiritual life? How do we grow into union with God through the use of liturgy as one important aspect of our spiritual life?
 

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Stephen Philips

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So, I am not a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church, but am very interested because of its great faith and spirituality. I have tried to find videos of services and have been scandalized as well with the "creeping" praise type worship. They even perform when the Patriarch is there. Check this out at 2hour 54 minutes: St Barsaumo Church New Building Consecration | صلاة تقديس مبنى كنيسة مار برصوم - YouTube
Maybe someone from this church can explain.
I have visited St Barsaumo multiple times for Divine Liturgy, since my good friend goes there. Yes, it is unfortunate that such things are practiced. I think it’s the responsibility of every Orthodox Christian who knows better to inform those who do not and emphasize the richness of Orthodox spirituality. If such is practiced during a divine service I am attending, (such as Divine Liturgy or Vespers) I must ignore it and not let it distract me from prayer. God willing with time these things will not exist in Orthodox services.
 

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It must be a great challenge keeping the faithful engaged here when we have all these protestant and neo protestant influences. I am sure there is also the language issue as well. At what point do we say insisting on Syriac, Copitc, Armenian, Old Church Slavanoic etc is not helping our faith?
 

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At what point do we say insisting on Syriac, Copitc, Armenian, Old Church Slavanoic etc is not helping our faith?
That is a huge question that is beyond me. In the Oriental Orthodox church, use of Syriac, Coptic, Classical Armenian, and Ge'ez is meant to be a blessing from the history of the church. However, among many who were not raised with a knowledge of the liturgy, or the hymns in the liturgical language, difficulty arises. Even after someone learns the liturgical language, use of it can still be distracting to prayer for some. I live in an area where different parishes offer a different combination of languages.
 

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So, I am not a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church, but am very interested because of its great faith and spirituality. I have tried to find videos of services and have been scandalized as well with the "creeping" praise type worship. They even perform when the Patriarch is there. Check this out at 2hour 54 minutes: St Barsaumo Church New Building Consecration | صلاة تقديس مبنى كنيسة مار برصوم - YouTube
Maybe someone from this church can explain.
Well, I can get why the Patriarch was facing away from the singing.

Those are some good looking ladies
 

Addai Gaspar

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what is actually happening here is that first, these are not from the syriac church properly, but from the "Sirian Catholic Orthodox Church of Brazil", note "Sirian" not "Syriac", they are in the Syriac Communion, but aren't quite the same as the common Syriacs, it's a branch missionary movement started in the 80's focused on Brazilian locals who are not of Syrian descent. Needless to say actual Syriacs don't like them very much, afaik they have always been problematic and honestly shouldn't be under the Communion anymore, it's being overlooked by the Patriarchate for very long now.
What we are seeing here is they emulating the liturgical tropes of the Catholic Charismatic Movement that is very strong in the Country, i'm even surprised they don't seem to speak in strange languages at any point, it seems they are also asking for tithes the same way pentecostals do. I've heard some of these churches go as far as celebrating gay marriages, it was kinda awkward because i was speaking to a friend who didn't know much about Orthodoxy and he said to me he once was in an Orthodox Church and they celebrated a gay marriage, i asked him wich Church it was and i shouldn't even be surprised, of course it was a local Sirian church.
 

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i was speaking to a friend who didn't know much about Orthodoxy and he said to me he once was in an Orthodox Church and they celebrated a gay marriage, i asked him wich Church it was and i shouldn't even be surprised, of course it was a local Sirian church.
I'm sure either you, or your friend, misunderstood something. If not, than this group will either be excommunicated, or come to repentance.
 

Stephen Philips

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I've heard some of these churches go as far as celebrating gay marriages
I would bet on my life that your comment is the result of a misunderstanding, because this group is under a legitimate Orthodox bishop, so there’s no opportunity for a rougue heretical priest to bless a sin.
 

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i'm telling you, he had no reason to lie, and said very clearly a certain Sirian Church celebrated a gay marriage, i do believe it's entirely plausible, yes they are in Communion with the Syriacs but as i said it's completely overlooked by the leadership.
They do practice a bunch of crypto-montanist stuff in light of pentecostal influence like visions and prophecies, wouldnt be surprised if they spoke in strange languages too, so i don't think more serious offences are too far fetched for them
 

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of course, i have no way to be completely certain, and i do hope it isn't true, so don't take it as an argument or anything, but then again i have no reason to doubt it either.
 

Stephen Philips

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i'm telling you, he had no reason to lie, and said very clearly a certain Sirian Church celebrated a gay marriage, i do believe it's entirely plausible, yes they are in Communion with the Syriacs but as i said it's completely overlooked by the leadership.
They do practice a bunch of crypto-montanist stuff in light of pentecostal influence like visions and prophecies, wouldnt be surprised if they spoke in strange languages too, so i don't think more serious offences are too far fetched for them
Forgive me, but your claims are very hard to believe. We are talking about a community under a legitimate bishop, who is accountable to an Orthodox Holy Synod. The problems I am aware of, in Brazil, are liturgical problems, and these are already being phased out by the Archbishop.

Here are examples of Brazilian Syriac Orthodox praying without any liturgical problems:
 

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Many of the Syriac priests in Brazil are former priests of the "Brazilian Catholic Church" (basically Anglicanism with more saints) that have been poorly managed.

Awesome guy. I'm 99% sure he's under the one bishop who has real liturgical problems under his omophorion, which means the diocese isn't problematic as a whole.
 

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Forgive me, but your claims are very hard to believe. We are talking about a community under a legitimate bishop, who is accountable to an Orthodox Holy Synod. The problems I am aware of, in Brazil, are liturgical problems, and these are already being phased out by the Archbishop.

Here are examples of Brazilian Syriac Orthodox praying without any liturgical problems:
don't take that for granted if you don't want to, i'm not here to argue, just reporting what i know about these guys, since it's close to home and i've been in their liturgy before.
i know Syriacs are legitimate, thats why i said in my first comment those guys are not properly Syriac, and i'm not blaming any Bishop, it was a small parish, if it happened it's just a thing that a minor ill prepared Priest can make once and fly under the radar, unfortunally those things can happen when there is a lack of cohesion.
 

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unfortunally those things can happen when there is a lack of cohesion.
Your claim has many problems:
1. You believe that a priest of the Oriental Orthodox church would and could publicly bless a sin
2. You believe that you could have knowledge of this, without the rest of the local Syriac Orthodox community having knowledge of the situation, so they could either bring the priest to repentance or excommunicate him.
3. Your only evidence is rumour.

I have showed this thread to a Brazilian Syriac Orthodox priest, hoping he could monitor it. He immediately noticed your strange accusation, mentioning to me that different groups had lied about, and slandered, the church in the past.
 

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peterfarrington

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Their who are we page says...

El Pescador Missionary Center was formed to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people, with a "new ardor, new expressions and new methods, according to the needs of the world." Like our Lord Jesus who was prompted by the Holy Spirit in the desert to pray and fast, our ministry found unshakable strength in fasting and prayer. This led us to think that the good work that God did in us could not be enclosed but had to open up and become a gigantic light that would serve as illumination for many people.

I would guess they are a vagante group and not Syrian at all.
 

Stephen Philips

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I would guess they are a vagante group and not Syrian at all.
Hi Abouna. I'm not sure why the video is connected to that Catholic church. I found the video on the Facebook page of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Central America. https://www.facebook.com/Icasoac-Siro-Ortodoxo-498235783665202/ They have a parish in Los Angeles, which this Liturgy was for. This is the facebook page of the LA parish https://www.facebook.com/San-Miguel-Arcángel-Church-Cristiana-Católica-Renovada-195691580632287/ The Archbishop of this Archdiocese is named Mor Santiago Eduardo Aguirre. How he and his group were recieved into the Orthodox church is recorded in the latter half of this article. https://britishorthodox.org/glaston...ission-in-the-twenty-first-century-guatemala/
 

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This is the same church as in the video. It is a Catholic Charismatic Church. The layout of the church building is the same as in the Gallery of their photos.
. The Syriac Orthodox Church brought a community formerly called Iglesia Católica Ecuménica Renovada en Guatemala into the Syriac Orthodox Church. The leader of this group was made Archbishop of Central America. They maintained a Liturgy resembling the Novus Ordo. Information can be found in the latter half of this article https://britishorthodox.org/glaston...ission-in-the-twenty-first-century-guatemala/.
The LA parish uses a Charismatic Catholic Church as a venue. Sorry for the confusion.
 

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Your claim has many problems:
1. You believe that a priest of the Oriental Orthodox church would and could publicly bless a sin
2. You believe that you could have knowledge of this, without the rest of the local Syriac Orthodox community having knowledge of the situation, so they could either bring the priest to repentance or excommunicate him.
3. Your only evidence is rumour.

I have showed this thread to a Brazilian Syriac Orthodox priest, hoping he could monitor it. He immediately noticed your strange accusation, mentioning to me that different groups had lied about, and slandered, the church in the past.
1. I do, and if you think it's impossible it's because you are clearly not familiar with the Country, i've seen many grave abuses before, from Romans, Syriacs and EO.
2. I'm not familiar enough with the Sirians and didn't look into it, who knows maybe these accusations reached some Bishop and proper measures were taken.
3. Yes and i made it very clear that it is rumour, that's why i won't disclose wich parish in particular it is. Again, i'm just informing what i know about said group, you are trying very hard to paint me as an mean intended accuser and liar, that isn't cool.
 

Stephen Philips

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1. I do, and if you think it's impossible it's because you are clearly not familiar with the Country, i've seen many grave abuses before, from Romans, Syriacs and EO.
i won't disclose wich parish in particular it is.
Now you are alleging that there are many Brazilian priests in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches, that all bless sins. Forgive me for being skeptical. I recommend that if you have evidence to support this, you present it to the respective bishops presiding over these communities.
 

Stephen Philips

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Seems like they also practice Catholic Adoration, in Guatemala. .
This is on the Facebook of a Guatemalan Syriac Orthodox Church

Not sure whether this is a problem, but it’s definitely foreign to our tradition
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