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Para-Liturgical & Extra-Liturgical Worship (Western & Youth Oriented)

AntoniousNikolas

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Hey Everyone,

I'm looking for suggestions for good paraliturgical and extra-liturgical music for use in Orthodox youth meetings, retreats, spiritual days, and other related activities.

The criteria is, the music should be:

+Orthodox in origin (nothing originating in Evangelical/Charismatic circles).
+Orthodox in ethos and melody, and appropriately reverential (no "pop" type stuff).
+Pleasing to the Western ear.
+In English.

I'm not at all interested in a debate as to whether or not heterodox music is appropriate for Orthodox worship.  I'm simply looking for Orthodox alternatives, especially from those of you with experience in serving the youth.

Several servants, at the orders of their priests, are looking for ways to phase out heterodox worship from their meetings, and unlike my youth, who are exemplary, tasbeha alone apparently isn't good enough for their youth!  ;)

Thank You,

A.N.
 

Deacon Lance

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Something like Eikona or Fr Peter Jon Gilquist?
https://www.archangelsbooks.com/products.asp?cat=Orthodox+Contemporary+%26+Folk+Music
 

qawe

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Deacon Lance said:
Something like Eikona or Fr Peter Jon Gilquist?
https://www.archangelsbooks.com/products.asp?cat=Orthodox+Contemporary+%26+Folk+Music
Exactly!

Antonious Nikolas said:
tasbeha alone apparently isn't good enough for their youth!
You mean not good enough for their parents?


In all honesty, while this will help, I still think you will encounter massive resistance as people actually enjoy the heterodox elements in such worship (especially crisis moments of 'being saved' implicit in many songs, and romantic/sentimental tropes); culture is usually a relatively small part of their aversion to traditional sacred music.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Deacon Lance said:
Something like Eikona or Fr Peter Jon Gilquist?
https://www.archangelsbooks.com/products.asp?cat=Orthodox+Contemporary+%26+Folk+Music
I was thinking more along the lines of Bishop Job's "A New Commandment".

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

I'm not sure precisely where the difference lies between the "Orthodox Contemporary" music you've linked to and the Protestant stuff.  Perhaps there's a difference in content there.  I'm not sure where there's a difference in ethos.  Remember, one of the things I'm looking for is "no pop stuff".  If it sounds like an "Orthodox" version of the latest Lady Antebellum song, we're missing the mark.

qawe said:
You mean not good enough for their parents?
How did you know?  The youth are actually very receptive to the message that so-called CCM is not worship and not appropriate for use in Orthodox settings.  Two ONE Conferences ago, when some of the servants who think they can sing were "rocking out" on stage, 9 out of 10 youth where I was sitting were totally disengaged, texting and talking to each other.  Then the servants came around and tried to pressure people to clap and sing.  Sometimes I really think this stuff is driven more by the servants and the parents thinking they "know what's cool" (Do parents ever know what's cool?) and what the youth want (Do older people ever know what they youth want?) more than by the youth themselves.

qawe said:
In all honesty, while this will help, I still think you will encounter massive resistance as people actually enjoy the heterodox elements in such worship (especially crisis moments of 'being saved' implicit in many songs, and romantic/sentimental tropes); culture is usually a relatively small part of their aversion to traditional sacred music.
The "romantic" element is a draw for some people, and if you ask me, downright disgusting.  Some of the songs, obviously written to appeal to adolescent girls, pretty much substitute "Jesus" for "baby" in any given secular "I've got a crush" song.  They're totally inappropriate.  Of course we're supposed to love our Lord, but not like he's Justin Bieber and he's picking us up at 7 to go to the mall, get some fries, and maybe hold hands on the escalators.
 

Arachne

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If you and your charges are even a little classically minded, Sir John Tavener's work covers three of your conditions; the 'in English' bit is chancy, since there can be no words at all. ;) I recommend 'Two Hymns to the Mother of God', 'The Protecting Veil', 'Akathist of Thanksgiving' and 'Svyati'.
 

scamandrius

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Antonious Nikolas said:
+Pleasing to the Western ear.
So, basically, if you want Byzantine chant make sure it's watered-down Byzantine chant?  I guess none of the recordings from the Romeiko Ensemble in English would pass that test then.

I absolutely hate when people say they like Byzantine chant, but then say immediately, but "not the way the monks do it" or something along those lines.  :mad:
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Arachne said:
If you and your charges are even a little classically minded, Sir John Tavener's work covers three of your conditions; the 'in English' bit is chancy, since there can be no words at all. ;) I recommend 'Two Hymns to the Mother of God', 'The Protecting Veil', 'Akathist of Thanksgiving' and 'Svyati'.
Goodness gracious, that is high end stuff!  To listen to that would be wonderful, but in terms of college kids chanting any of that before a Bible study...woah.  ;D
 

AntoniousNikolas

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scamandrius said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
+Pleasing to the Western ear.
So, basically, if you want Byzantine chant make sure it's watered-down Byzantine chant?  I guess none of the recordings from the Romeiko Ensemble in English would pass that test then.

I absolutely hate when people say they like Byzantine chant, but then say immediately, but "not the way the monks do it" or something along those lines.   :mad:
Could you maybe link to some youtube vids or something?  I youtubed Arachne's Tavener references, but when I youtubed Romeiko Ensemble, all I got was Greek.

Honestly, scamandrius, Byzantine (or Slavic) chant in English might be appropriate.  Many Coptic youth tell me that "what the OCA guys do" is more palatable to the second generation/Western born Copt than their own melismatic Coptic stuff.
 

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i understand your problem.
i am also looking for good orthodox songs in english (that do not contain the words 'thee' and 'thou'!)
i am allergic to old english.
it makes me feel like i am in school and someone is reciting something i don't understand.

so far, my favourite song is:
http://tasbeha.org/mp3/Songs/English/Coptic_Hymns_and_Spiritual_Songs_1.html
'of all nations'

but sung as it was in brighton when i was there, with slightly improved grammar (they sang 'FROM' all nations, not 'of')
and sung a bit faster: not like pop music, but just as fast as we would sing 'glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Sprit'
and faster than 'remember me oh Lord when you come into your kingdom' (good friday and funerals).

i did not yet find anything that is not translated from another language and that fulfills my strict theological criteria.
(well, there are a few songs from non orthodox churches that have good words, but i don't think the music is great)
so i wish you all the best in your search.
may God guide u.

stop press...
finally found the other thread that discussed this:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,61765.0.html
hope it's useful.
:)
 

hecma925

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Antonious Nikolas said:
scamandrius said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
+Pleasing to the Western ear.
So, basically, if you want Byzantine chant make sure it's watered-down Byzantine chant?  I guess none of the recordings from the Romeiko Ensemble in English would pass that test then.

I absolutely hate when people say they like Byzantine chant, but then say immediately, but "not the way the monks do it" or something along those lines.   :mad:
Could you maybe link to some youtube vids or something?  I youtubed Arachne's Tavener references, but when I youtubed Romeiko Ensemble, all I got was Greek.

Honestly, scamandrius, Byzantine (or Slavic) chant in English might be appropriate.  Many Coptic youth tell me that "what the OCA guys do" is more palatable to the second generation/Western born Copt than their own melismatic Coptic stuff.
What do OCA guys do?
 

AntoniousNikolas

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mabsoota said:
i understand your problem.
i am also looking for good orthodox songs in english (that do not contain the words 'thee' and 'thou'!)
i am allergic to old english.
it makes me feel like i am in school and someone is reciting something i don't understand.

so far, my favourite song is:
http://tasbeha.org/mp3/Songs/English/Coptic_Hymns_and_Spiritual_Songs_1.html
'of all nations'

but sung as it was in brighton when i was there, with slightly improved grammar (they sang 'FROM' all nations, not 'of')
and sung a bit faster: not like pop music, but just as fast as we would sing 'glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Sprit'
and faster than 'remember me oh Lord when you come into your kingdom' (good friday and funerals).

i did not yet find anything that is not translated from another language and that fulfills my strict theological criteria.
(well, there are a few songs from non orthodox churches that have good words, but i don't think the music is great)
so i wish you all the best in your search.
may God guide u.

stop press...
finally found the other thread that discussed this:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,61765.0.html
hope it's useful.
:)
Thank you, mabsoota.  This is all very helpful.

hecma925 said:
What do OCA guys do?
For some reason, they find the OCA hymns more palatable to the Western ear.  Some have even gone so far as to suggest that all Orthodox Churches in the USA should adopt the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as it is prayed in English-speaking OCA parishes.  Westerners might find this liturgy "Eastern", but many of my Coptic youth find it more "Western" than our own liturgy.  I guess all things are relative.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Deacon Lance said:
Something like Eikona or Fr Peter Jon Gilquist?
https://www.archangelsbooks.com/products.asp?cat=Orthodox+Contemporary+%26+Folk+Music
I was thinking more along the lines of Bishop Job's "A New Commandment".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvDJQeyLkyk
Awesome!

I'm not sure precisely where the difference lies between the "Orthodox Contemporary" music you've linked to and the Protestant stuff.  Perhaps there's a difference in content there.  I'm not sure where there's a difference in ethos.  Remember, one of the things I'm looking for is "no pop stuff".  If it sounds like an "Orthodox" version of the latest Lady Antebellum song, we're missing the mark.
I'd say the difference in ethos would be that they contain no/limited sentimentality.  Like it's definitely not Orthodox worship, but at least it does not inoculate you against it.

In fact, I can't see a reason to forbid it from Orthodox youth events, as long as it is clear that we're not praying, just kinda mucking around.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Antonious Nikolas said:
For some reason, they find the OCA hymns more palatable to the Western ear.  Some have even gone so far as to suggest that all Orthodox Churches in the USA should adopt the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as it is prayed in English-speaking OCA parishes.  Westerners might find this liturgy "Eastern", but many of my Coptic youth find it more "Western" than our own liturgy.  I guess all things are relative.
It is a "Western" liturgy: it's the rite of "New Rome" heavily influenced by "Third Rome".  It has an Eastern origin, certainly, and it's more Eastern than Methodist liturgy, but it is Western all the same. 
 

AntoniousNikolas

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qawe said:
Yeah, I know right.  This, to me, would be perfect.  It could easily be memorized and sung at youth events, and it is totally in keeping with Orthodox praxis.

qawe said:
I'd say the difference in ethos would be that they contain no/limited sentimentality.  Like it's definitely not Orthodox worship, but at least it does not inoculate you against it.

In fact, I can't see a reason to forbid it from Orthodox youth events, as long as it is clear that we're not praying, just kinda mucking around.
Very well said.  I agree with your assessment.

Mor Ephrem said:
It is a "Western" liturgy: it's the rite of "New Rome" heavily influenced by "Third Rome".  It has an Eastern origin, certainly, and it's more Eastern than Methodist liturgy, but it is Western all the same. 
Like I said, it's all relative.  You come from the Easternmost surviving Orthodox tradition.  To you (and me, and the Ethiopians) the Rite of New Rome filtered through "Third Rome" might be "Western", but to actual Westerners, anything East of Old Rome's rite is Eastern.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Like I said, it's all relative.  You come from the Easternmost surviving Orthodox tradition.  To you (and me, and the Ethiopians) the Rite of New Rome filtered through "Third Rome" might be "Western", but to actual Westerners, anything East of Old Rome's rite is Eastern.
I agree with you that it's relative, but only to an extent.  For me, it's not merely a geographic matter.  But that is for another thread, I suppose.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
Like I said, it's all relative.  You come from the Easternmost surviving Orthodox tradition.  To you (and me, and the Ethiopians) the Rite of New Rome filtered through "Third Rome" might be "Western", but to actual Westerners, anything East of Old Rome's rite is Eastern.
I agree with you that it's relative, but only to an extent.  For me, it's not merely a geographic matter.  But that is for another thread, I suppose.
I for one would be quite interested to hear, in another thread, why you think the West/East liturgical boundary is important.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Deacon Lance said:
Something like Eikona or Fr Peter Jon Gilquist?
https://www.archangelsbooks.com/products.asp?cat=Orthodox+Contemporary+%26+Folk+Music
I was thinking more along the lines of Bishop Job's "A New Commandment".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvDJQeyLkyk
Oh, that is an old Carpatho Rusyn hymn.  Here you go:
http://www.acrod.org/multimedia/audio/liturgicalmusic/
http://www.metropolitancantorinstitute.org/RecordedMusic.html
Both are the same Prostopinje tradition, ACROD reflects the Presov version, BCC reflects the Mukachevo version.
 

Mor Ephrem

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scamandrius said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
+Pleasing to the Western ear.
So, basically, if you want Byzantine chant make sure it's watered-down Byzantine chant?  I guess none of the recordings from the Romeiko Ensemble in English would pass that test then.

I absolutely hate when people say they like Byzantine chant, but then say immediately, but "not the way the monks do it" or something along those lines.   :mad:
No one was talking about Byzantine chant.
 

Antonis

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scamandrius said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
+Pleasing to the Western ear.
So, basically, if you want Byzantine chant make sure it's watered-down Byzantine chant?  I guess none of the recordings from the Romeiko Ensemble in English would pass that test then.

I absolutely hate when people say they like Byzantine chant, but then say immediately, but "not the way the monks do it" or something along those lines.   :mad:
Why do you hate it when people say that? The agioritic style isn't the only style of Byzantine chant, I would think a maestro such as yourself would be aware of that.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Mor Ephrem said:
I agree with you that it's relative, but only to an extent.  For me, it's not merely a geographic matter.  But that is for another thread, I suppose.
Kindly start it or PM me.  I'm genuinely interested.

Deacon Lance said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
Deacon Lance said:
Something like Eikona or Fr Peter Jon Gilquist?
https://www.archangelsbooks.com/products.asp?cat=Orthodox+Contemporary+%26+Folk+Music
I was thinking more along the lines of Bishop Job's "A New Commandment".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvDJQeyLkyk
Oh, that is an old Carpatho Rusyn hymn.  Here you go:
http://www.acrod.org/multimedia/audio/liturgicalmusic/
http://www.metropolitancantorinstitute.org/RecordedMusic.html
Both are the same Prostopinje tradition, ACROD reflects the Presov version, BCC reflects the Mukachevo version.
Thanks!  Anything else along those lines in English?
 

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I hope I don't derail your thread, and I certainly don't mean to argue or say what you're doing is wrong. But I wonder if we could examine the "tasbeha alone isn't good enough for the youth" point. I wonder if it isn't the way we approach it? We've made it into a large monlithic service that takes a long time, so we rush many parts, and generally make it boring and difficult for youth. But does it have to be this way? I notice that many of the hymns posted in this thread are EO liturgical hymns. Now, I'd love for us to learn from each other and even to come to have one North American rite, Orthodoxy expressed in this culture. But the reality is that we do operate as if we were separate Churches, and will likely continue to do so for some time. So wouldn't it be more beneficial to the youth to make them steeped in the Liturgical tradition they do live in?

At a meeting that some of us from my church have during the week, we say Vespers Praise, have a talk, then eat. It takes about 20 minutes to say vespers praise, but it doesn't even need to be that long. Normally we say the fourth canticle, the psali, and the theotokia. So far over the course of 5 meetings we have said the Wed Psali, the Thurs Psali, the Psali for Nairouz, and the Psali for the wedding of Canna. Once a priest wanted to start the talk early, so we just said the 4th canticle and the Psali, in well under 10 minutes. If time were even more pressed, there would be nothing wrong with saying just the Psali, just like there are suggestions here to say EO liturgical hymns by themselves. It is little known today, but there is a Psali for all the feasts, even for many saints feasts. This is a big part of our tradition that we are largely cut off from, an usually just say the annual Sunday Midnight Praise for 2 hours some weeks as if that's all there is to Tasbeha.

Even Midnight praise is not a monolithic as we make it. It is actually several services fused together. The Psalms and the Praise don't need to go to together. And the 1st - 3rd canticle are actually Midnight Praise, and the 4th canticle, Psali, and Theotokia is Lauds. So it's the Midnight and Sunrise services fused together. There's nothing wrong with only saying one or the other. And the Psali after or before each canticle is a later addition, and parts 7 and 9-18 of the Sunday Theotokia are later additions. There's nothing wrong with saying just the original parts and if desired adding on or two other parts. There's no reason to say everything under the sun in a rushed or tedious manner. It's better to say just a few things prayerfully and in a way that the youth can get to know and love them. If we make it light enough, they will like it, and later want to learn and add more. I think that's an alternative to looking to stuff outside our tradition to satisfy them because they find our tradition too dry... just don't present our tradition like the pharasees who put heavy burdens on people :)


Antonious Nikolas said:
Hey Everyone,

I'm looking for suggestions for good paraliturgical and extra-liturgical music for use in Orthodox youth meetings, retreats, spiritual days, and other related activities.

The criteria is, the music should be:

+Orthodox in origin (nothing originating in Evangelical/Charismatic circles).
+Orthodox in ethos and melody, and appropriately reverential (no "pop" type stuff).
+Pleasing to the Western ear.
+In English.

I'm not at all interested in a debate as to whether or not heterodox music is appropriate for Orthodox worship.  I'm simply looking for Orthodox alternatives, especially from those of you with experience in serving the youth.

Several servants, at the orders of their priests, are looking for ways to phase out heterodox worship from their meetings, and unlike my youth, who are exemplary, tasbeha alone apparently isn't good enough for their youth!  ;)

Thank You,

A.N.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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This isn't derailing the post at all, Jonathan.  In fact, I think it's a very valuable and viable suggestion.  Thank you.  :)
 

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n fact, I can't see a reason to forbid it from Orthodox youth events, as long as it is clear that we're not praying, just kinda mucking around.
I do not see any reason why an Orthodox youth event should be held in the Church or listed among the church activities if it is not prayerful and holy.  

At a meeting that some of us from my church have during the week, we say Vespers Praise, have a talk, then eat. It takes about 20 minutes to say vespers praise, but it doesn't even need to be that long.
The Church has produced millions of saints using her current Coptic rites and Coptic culture.  

We have been trying to "modernize" the rites since the 60's and replace it with western style worship, in Egypt and abroad, stealing western songs and books and making prayers short to the extent of destroying the integrity of the liturgies. The result: zero saints. Nil. Can anyone point me to one single notable spiritual person in the Coptic church of the latter days saints in the West? The ones I know are the product of a Coptic Orthodox Church.    

The Church is not all about youth. It is not YMCA. Maybe the better approach is to teach the youth that the Church is not for entertainment and self self expression. It is the exact opposite.

Tasbeha should be prayed in full. Every church liturgy that has been attacked and shortened and become a joke of a service like Baptism and Matrimony should be restored to its former glory. If the youth or converts, due to lack of orthodox based service or absence of orthodox examples in their churches cannot pray 2 hours, they can attend five minutes and go play basketball in the church gym or hang out in the community center of the church with their incompetent servants, and come back for the conclusion. The Church should not be destroyed for the sake of invalid youth.  

There are believers who are serious about their Orthodox prayer life and they want to worship together as an assembled congregation of the Lord, as we ask the Lord in the litanies of the liturgy, regardless of the age, race or culture. We should not hinder their salvation by focusing on the youth and converts (if they even exist) who have been brought up to be Protestant.

Alternatively, make parallel service only for the youth and non-Copts. Put a sign on the door " Only people under 25 are allowed", "Koptik sind hier unerwuenscht" or " Teta - Go away!". It does not matter that there is a clear segregation based on race, culture and age, as long as washed out youth are happy. It is not anymore the assembled congregation of the Lord of Hosts, but the segregated congregation of the Prince of the World.  

AN,

I understand very well your pure intentions, so do not be upset by my opinion below.
       
There is an modern Arabic proverb saying " Build a fence at the top of the hill rather than a clinic at the bottom". I feel we are trying to build many clinics at the bottom and that we are in full fire fighting mood. The energy is better spent in bringing up orthodox youth and they will produce their own tunes and words. Orthodox songs will be bred from within rather than imported. And do not be surprised if it ends up with African or Mediterranean tunes, the very tunes that some think are not suitable for youth. It is just in the Coptic blood.

Sometimes I really think this stuff is driven more by the servants and the parents thinking they "know what's cool" (Do parents ever know what's cool?) and what the youth want (Do older people ever know what they youth want?) more than by the youth themselves.
 

And the priests. And the Bishops. They are being derelict in their primary responsibility.

But as for the Egyptian parents and servants, you are totally right. Maybe when the Copts are large enough in numbers, it will justify funding for a professional or academic study of the socioeconomic factors that shaped the Copts outside of Egypt. There is a certain inferiority complex.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Stavro said:
   
There is an modern Arabic proverb saying " Build a fence at the top of the hill rather than a clinic at the bottom". I feel we are trying to build many clinics at the bottom and that we are in full fire fighting mood. The energy is better spent in bringing up orthodox youth and they will produce their own tunes and words. Orthodox songs will be bred from within rather than imported. And do not be surprised if it ends up with African or Mediterranean tunes, the very tunes that some think are not suitable for youth. It is just in the Coptic blood.
Stavro, I'm not mad with your post at all.  In fact, I often employ the same proverb when discussing this problem.  We didn't have the fence (due to lack of education and lack of episcopal oversight) and now the hospital is working overtime.  We didn't prevent to problem in the first place, so now some people have fallen off the cliff (bought into the Protestant ethos), become enamored of their gangrenous wounds (Protestant materials, practice, and role models), and will be angry and hurt when those wounds have to be amputated (Max Lucado, Ravi Zacharias, Hillsong, and Rick Warren).  Some may leave the hospital rather than say goodbye to their beloved infections, but we can't allow it to spread further, fester, and infect others.  And we'd better get building the fence post haste to make sure no one else falls off.  Like I said, I don't want this thread to turn into a debate about whether or not Protestant "worship" has any place in our Church.  It doesn't, and this thread is predicated upon that indisputable fact.  What I want is ways to wean the youth off of such until such rejuvenation and production of such tunes as you describe can be implemented.  Am I in "full on fighting mode"?  You bet.  I came to the Coptic Church for her purity of practice and purity of doctrine.  I won't see that vitiated and our youth poisoned without a fight.  But at the end of the day the battle and the victory is the Lord's, who will disperse the council of the Protestantizers as he dispersed the council of Ahitophel.
 

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Stavro said:
At a meeting that some of us from my church have during the week, we say Vespers Praise, have a talk, then eat. It takes about 20 minutes to say vespers praise, but it doesn't even need to be that long.
The Church has produced millions of saints using her current Coptic rites and Coptic culture.  

We have been trying to "modernize" the rites since the 60's and replace it with western style worship, in Egypt and abroad, stealing western songs and books and making prayers short to the extent of destroying the integrity of the liturgies. The result: zero saints. Nil. Can anyone point me to one single notable spiritual person in the Coptic church of the latter days saints in the West? The ones I know are the product of a Coptic Orthodox Church.    

The Church is not all about youth. It is not YMCA. Maybe the better approach is to teach the youth that the Church is not for entertainment and self self expression. It is the exact opposite.

Tasbeha should be prayed in full. Every church liturgy that has been attacked and shortened and become a joke of a service like Baptism and Matrimony should be restored to its former glory. If the youth or converts, due to lack of orthodox based service or absence of orthodox examples in their churches cannot pray 2 hours, they can attend five minutes and go play basketball in the church gym or hang out in the community center of the church with their incompetent servants, and come back for the conclusion. The Church should not be destroyed for the sake of invalid youth.  

There are believers who are serious about their Orthodox prayer life and they want to worship together as an assembled congregation of the Lord, as we ask the Lord in the litanies of the liturgy, regardless of the age, race or culture. We should not hinder their salvation by focusing on the youth and converts (if they even exist) who have been brought up to be Protestant.

Alternatively, make parallel service only for the youth and non-Copts. Put a sign on the door " Only people under 25 are allowed", "Koptik sind hier unerwuenscht" or " Teta - Go away!". It does not matter that there is a clear segregation based on race, culture and age, as long as washed out youth are happy. It is not anymore the assembled congregation of the Lord of Hosts, but the segregated congregation of the Prince of the World.  
Hi Stavro,

-Vespers Praise is a complete, integral service that can be said in 20 min without rushing. It only consists of the 4th canticle, psali, theotokia, and conclusion, as I'm sure you know. There is nothing watered down about it.
-St. Kyrillos VI gave some of his spiritual children a rule of saying only the Psali each day, not all of Vespers praise, so certainly there is president for this.
-Midnight Praise and Lauds are two services that have becomes fused. There is nothing wrong with praying only one or the other, despite the fact that the common practice has been for a long time to join them.
-The essential core of Midnight Praise is the canticles, communion of saints, Psali, Theotokia, and conclusion. The rest of the hymns interspersed throughout are not earlier than the 14th century. Praying it as it was prayed in the time of St. Athanasius is hardly modernizing it. There is no rule saying that you must say every hymn that can possibly be said. St. Macarius' monastery picks and choose which hymns to add to the core on different occasions, rather than saying everything every time.
-The Eucharistic Liturgy MUST be completed once the Offertory is started. There are no such rules about Tasbeha, and if you have a canon stating otherwise please state it.

-I don't see how suggesting that using services from our rite rather than just singing hymns sources from various traditions is westernizing.
-I agree fully that dividing the youth out rather than being the Catholic Church is disastrous. The group I mentioned at my church covers a wide range, certainly including people more reasonably classed as middle aged than youth. A group of varied races, ages, and social situations gathering together as one to pray the Vespers Praise according to the received rite, receive a spiritual word from a priest, and share some snacks and time together, in the middle of the week, hardly seems to me like an attack on our rite and Liturgy.

-Pope Kyrillos VI is a great saint who gave only the Psali as a rule to some of his children. St. Macarius' monastery has produced many saints while not saying every hymn in the book at Tasbeha.
 

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lovely posts, jonathan, please post more!
(actually, maybe you have many things to do in 'real' life, and so you can concentrate your advice there if you prefer!)

if more people will know God better if you pray the night praises ('tasbeha') slowly over several days, that's fine by me.
personally i love to sing in church for 2 hours (we do 40% english 40% arabic and 20% coptic roughly).
my low attendance is because it is quite far to church and i have other responsibilities.
we also have a mixed age group, although it is slightly more than half people under the age of 30.

if you have people like me who love to sing a lot, maybe you could do a long one occasionally,
and those who have been learning with you could then join it as they will recognise it.

i think that separating out midnight and early morning praises is not at similar to allowing non orthodox influences in to the church.
 

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mabsoota said:
lovely posts, jonathan, please post more!
(actually, maybe you have many things to do in 'real' life, and so you can concentrate your advice there if you prefer!)

if more people will know God better if you pray the night praises ('tasbeha') slowly over several days, that's fine by me.
personally i love to sing in church for 2 hours (we do 40% english 40% arabic and 20% coptic roughly).
my low attendance is because it is quite far to church and i have other responsibilities.
we also have a mixed age group, although it is slightly more than half people under the age of 30.

if you have people like me who love to sing a lot, maybe you could do a long one occasionally,
and those who have been learning with you could then join it as they will recognise it.

i think that separating out midnight and early morning praises is not at similar to allowing non orthodox influences in to the church.
Thank you Mabsoota.

Just to clarify: Vespers Praise is a normal service. It just happens to be identical in order to Lauds. So when we go to Church on a Sat evening (eve of Sun) for example, we would pray the Psalms, Vespers Praise, Evening Raising of Incense, Psalms, and Midnight Praise, which includes Lauds fused to the end. Vespers Praise and Lauds are identical, except Vespers praise is the end of the previous day and Lauds is in the current day, so the first is the Saturday Psali and Theotokia and the second is for Sunday. So what we are doing is not even splitting anything up from the normative modern practice.

As for allowing for people who like two hours... Of course, everything has to be balanced. But a weekday meeting before a talk isn't the place. Rather than having 15-20 min of Evangelical hymns, and then a talk as many such groups do, we spend 20 min saying Vespers Praise, fully, according the today's rite, and then have the talk. If we were to say Midnight Praise after the talk instead, I think that would be too much for most people with work the next day, especially if discussion has gone long. It would also leave not time for "hanging out", which is important if we're to be a community.

Of course, there are other times where longer services are warranted. At Sunday Vespers we of course say all of Midnight Praise (by my standards it's all).

I think the way things arose in my parish is an interesting story that is relevant:

My priest was the first to translate tasbeha into English, in the early '80's. He made a little booklet that has just the Canticles, Communion of saints, Saturday and Sunday Psali and Theotokia, Conclusions, and Doxology of Prime. I.e. just what is used an Annual Sundays. He and his son produced a
tape to teach how to fit the english words to the tunes. This tape became widely distributed. Years later, H.G. Anba Souriel told him that he learned Tasbeha from that tape. Another time, someone showed him a tape of "Australian Tasbeha" that turned out to be his own tape that had made it to the other side of the world.

He started introducing Tasbeha to his parish. If he had started with a "full" 2.5 hour service, or done "everything" rushed into 90 minutes, it would have flopped, and you'd have (maybe), 1-2 "deacons" attending, and the youth would flock to evangelical sources thinking they are "nourishment". Instead, he started doing Midnight Praise (to the end of the Communion of saints) one week, and Lauds (the second half) on alternating weeks. The youth (and many older people) got to know it and like it, and eventually it was switched to doing both "halfs" at once, rather than splitting it. Years later, I learned the Saturday hymns from Fr. Antony Paul, when we were just two young guys, and we introduced Vespers Praise. For many years, every week we celebrated the full potential of services, i.e. 9th, 11th, 12th, Vespers Praise, Raising of Incense, Midnight, and Midnight Praise every single week in our small parish. At some point, the long term for "The Waters of the Sea" (or "With the Split" in the more common translation) and "Let us give thanks" were introduced.

More recently, they discovered the new part 7 (Seven times every day is the original part 7), and parts 9-18, and it got noticeably longer. Two things happened: 1. Midnight Praise happens a lot less often now. 2. When it does happened, it's rushed to the point of absurdity to say everything, so it's impossible to contemplate anything. Also, while these guys fell in love with it when it was short, I don't see any of the new youth interested in it when it is so lengthened and rushed.

A while back I prayed it with just a few guys and insisted we do it the old way. They couldn't even carry the tune for the Theotokia anymore because they were so used to rushing. But they caught on, and they appreciated saying it in a reasonable way.

So because Tasbeha was introduced in the parish in such a reasonable way, all the youth fell in love with it, and are content with that rather than evangelical sources. So there are two sides to the coin: 1. We have to offer that rather than evangelical hymns at meetings, and 2. We have to celebrated in the parish in such a way that it is light enough for them to fall in love with and get to know.

I think it's more reasonable to always say the core that has to be said, and then to pick. One week say the long tunes for "The water" and "let us". Another week say the extraneous parts of the Theotokia, etc., but don't try to say everything every week. Maybe once a month say everything so that those who want more are fed too. But as soon as it is really rushing, say less. It's better to say the core well than to say every extra hymn poorly. And you know, the quality of the later additions is not the same as the core. Compare part 1-7 of the Theotokia with the latter half and you'll see the difference. And if you look at modern part 7, well, every part until then there is a footnote almost every line saying where in the Bible it came from, and then you get there and the footnotes stop. It's a different quality.

Anyone who wants to really say a lot is free to at home, or to visit a monastery. But what is done as our corporate worship in the parish should be compassionate, it should not overburden anyone so that we can all grow together.
 

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i agree, especially with:

"I think it's more reasonable to always say the core that has to be said, and then to pick. One week say the long tunes for "The water" and "let us". Another week say the extraneous parts of the Theotokia, etc., but don't try to say everything every week. Maybe once a month say everything so that those who want more are fed too. But as soon as it is really rushing, say less. It's better to say the core well than to say every extra hymn poorly."

so is it your priest who is responsible for:
http://tasbeha.org/mp3/Praises/Midnight_Praises/St_Anthony_Monastery,_English_Midnight_Praises.html
?
i have been listening to this for years, such beautiful songs to God
:)
 

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mabsoota said:
so is it your priest who is responsible for:
http://tasbeha.org/mp3/Praises/Midnight_Praises/St_Anthony_Monastery,_English_Midnight_Praises.html
?
i have been listening to this for years, such beautiful songs to God
:)
No, no... That is Anba Karas and Abouna Anastasi and the monks at St. Antony's in California. The one my priest did was much older, in the early to mid 80's, and I don't think it ever made it to the digital world :)
 

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Stavro said:
We have been trying to "modernize" the rites since the 60's and replace it with western style worship, in Egypt and abroad, stealing western songs and books and making prayers short
Hi Stavro, when exactly did this change happen and who started/championed it? I'm very surprised Pope Kyrillos allowed this.  I thought you would have said the 70s.
 

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Jonathan said:
Couldn't that sort of 'lowest common denominator' approach be dangerous though?  Should not the Church set her standards irrespective of the personal spiritual statuses of individuals, even the majority? Isn't this one of the issues with the Evangelical songs we are replacing (although I admit it is not the only issue), that it is dumbed down worship for people who haven't the patience/asceticism to worship liturgically?

I actually think your ideas are great, but I'm interested in what you think of what I've written above.
 

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Hi Qawe,

In everything, Orthodox is the middle way, avoiding deviations to the left or to the right. If something is extreme, it needs to be examined carefully.

My priest is a wise father, possessing spiritual discernment to guide his children. By their fruit you will know them. When his advise (which was harshly criticized by many neighbouring priests) was followed, the results could been seen in the fruit of his children. When they decided to go "above", or to the right of what he had set and add more, the fruit was also plainly visible.

If we turn the services, which are means for drawing nearing to Christ, into ends, and worship them in place of Him. If we insist on rigidly following and making utterly unchanging everything we have received in this generation. Then we have deviated from Orthodoxy which is not a dead set of rules, but a living tradition. And then we will trigger the sort of reductionist you fear, because by overburdening people we will cause them to cast off everything.

The rites have changed greatly over the centuries, including quite recently. I don't think it is fair to call moving towards practices that more closely resemble what went on in the time of our greatest fathers "reductionist", as if we today were more than them.

The problem is that we don't know our own rites. We treat them like some kind of magical incantation that needs to be said just so to work. We argue vehemently that theologically nonsensical hymns that entered our tradition in the past two hundred years must be said, because it is our tradition, and so not to say them is sacrilege.

If we really learned well the history of the development of our rite, and understood what is important and what is not, then we wouldn't be so afraid.

If you look at any other Orthodox Church, they don't feel they need to say everything in the book. Their pastors choose what is appropriate for their community, within the accepted bounds.

What we have today in the Coptic Church is basically a monastic rite that gradually supplanted the cathedral rite. We are not monks, and we need to start reclaiming the older rite that fits life in the world better.

It's easy to say "this way has produced so many saints", without critically examining how different this way looked in the time of so many of those saints.

qawe said:
Jonathan said:
Anyone who wants to really say a lot is free to at home, or to visit a monastery. But what is done as our corporate worship in the parish should be compassionate, it should not overburden anyone so that we can all grow together.
Couldn't that sort of 'lowest common denominator' approach be dangerous though?  Should not the Church set her standards irrespective of the personal spiritual statuses of individuals, even the majority? Isn't this one of the issues with the Evangelical songs we are replacing (although I admit it is not the only issue), that it is dumbed down worship for people who haven't the patience/asceticism to worship liturgically?

I actually think your ideas are great, but I'm interested in what you think of what I've written above.
 

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qawe said:
Stavro said:
We have been trying to "modernize" the rites since the 60's and replace it with western style worship, in Egypt and abroad, stealing western songs and books and making prayers short
Hi Stavro, when exactly did this change happen and who started/championed it? I'm very surprised Pope Kyrillos allowed this.  I thought you would have said the 70s.
Hi Qawe,

I hope this reply will not steer the discussion away from its original purpose intended by AN. I choose not to reply to Jonathan's post for this reason. But I feel the legacy of the great saint requires a clarification. 

The great saint, Pope Kyrillos, fought it, but Protestantism was imported with the "missionaries" and further aided by the British occupation. It was in the background. The difference between one Pope and the other is the way they handled it.

I think the only anathema in his holy and blessed Papacy was against the heretical group "Salvation of souls", a British backed group of Protodox who were very active in the 40's and 50's and infiltrated the Coptic clergy. He did not negotiate, he did not get into a discussion with them, he assembled the synod and anathemized the group, its members and those who receive them in an old school, 4th century style.

Check out the recording of Abona Rophael St. Mina, specially the part about the death of the famous and charitable Protestant pastor Dr. Ibrahim Said. 
 

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Stavro said:
qawe said:
Stavro said:
We have been trying to "modernize" the rites since the 60's and replace it with western style worship, in Egypt and abroad, stealing western songs and books and making prayers short
Hi Stavro, when exactly did this change happen and who started/championed it? I'm very surprised Pope Kyrillos allowed this.  I thought you would have said the 70s.
Hi Qawe,

I hope this reply will not steer the discussion away from its original purpose intended by AN. I choose not to reply to Jonathan's post for this reason. But I feel the legacy of the great saint requires a clarification.  

The great saint, Pope Kyrillos, fought it, but Protestantism was imported with the "missionaries" and further aided by the British occupation. It was in the background. The difference between one Pope and the other is the way they handled it.

I think the only anathema in his holy and blessed Papacy was against the heretical group "Salvation of souls", a British backed group of Protodox who were very active in the 40's and 50's and infiltrated the Coptic clergy. He did not negotiate, he did not get into a discussion with them, he assembled the synod and anathemized the group, its members and those who receive them in an old school, 4th century style.

Check out the recording of Abona Rophael St. Mina, specially the part about the death of the famous and charitable Protestant pastor Dr. Ibrahim Said.  
Thank God for His great saint Pope St. Kyrillos VI.  Can we find His Holiness' anathema against this group anywhere online?  And could you please provide a link to Abouna Raphael's remarks?

Thank you, Stavro, for the respect and for the desire not to derail the thread with tangential arguments.  Please pray for me.
 

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AN,
You wrote:
"I'm simply looking for Orthodox alternatives, especially from those of you with experience in serving the youth."
Well I have an alternative that satisfies 4 of your 4 criteria...and it's not an alternative: Melismatic Coptic hymns.
1. They are indisputably "Orthodox in origin." This something you can't say for a lot of English/Arabic hymns that appear Orthodox. I recently read that 70% of Catholic hymns used in the liturgy are actually Protestant hymns (not the evangelical Charismatic pop song stuff but Protestant nonetheless). 
2. They are "Orthodox in ethos" as they transcend location, place, and age. No English/Arabic madeha has the track record of Coptic melismatic hymns (as Stavro pointed out)
3. They are sort of "pleasing to the Western ear." This one is tricky but it still applies. There are at least 3 Western musical historians and scholars (that I know of) that consider Coptic melismatic music extremely powerful and pleasing. (They wouldn't be studying Coptic hymns if they were not). But they are scholars. What about the average person? Well I think if people believe "pleasing" or esthetically acceptable is a criteria for Orthodox music, then they are missing the point. Esthetics and beauty only get you so far. Beauty always changes. Spirituality that leads to sainthood (as Stavro so accurately pointed out) is fixable and immutable. Even if you find some Orthodox hymn that is pleasing to the Western ear, at some point in the future, it will not be pleasing to the Western ear. Guaranteed. The problem is not the hymn, it is the "corruptibility" of sacred music appreciation. (That doesn't even address the problem of defining "Western" as we have already seen in this thread). So why bother considering beauty and Western acceptability in the first place?
4. They can be "in English". I can easily adjust melismatic Coptic hymns to fit English translations. This would technically fit this criteria but this is not what you're really asking for. You're asking for songs were the music was created for the text and not the other way around. While I understand why this would be a requirement, in essence it is asking for "dummied down" understanding of music and I argue a dummied down understanding of the power of Orthodox music and Orthodox prayer. While no one expects people to sing what they cannot understand, music and language essentially take different neural pathways and are processed by the brain differently. One can easily appreciate and internalize music in a foreign language since music is not processed by the same part of the brain that language is. (For example most Rap and Raggae songs can be cited. No matter what anyone says, these songs are not English.)  Even in pop music, there is a large corpus of text that isn't English that is used quite frequently. (For example, the use of umm, ah, oh, and the ever popular "do-wah diddy-diddy down diddy-do") The problem is that people want music to effect them as language does and that will never happen. It's like trying to make Orthodoxy fit the person instead of having the person internalize and fit into Orthodoxy. In Orthodoxy, men sing with angels and it transcends language. But I guess we only want to sing with angels who only sing in English.  :mad: :mad: :mad:

If I had 20 minutes before a youth meeting, I can literally sing a melismatic song from 95-99% from the corpus of long Coptic melismatic hymns (in English translation if you like) - even the ones that 99.99% of the Coptic world doesn't know exists. We don't need to find an alternative for the songs. We need to find an alternative for the attitude and (inferior) understanding of Orthodox sacred music.

I am also sorry for derailing this thread. But I don't think looking for Orthodox hymns from other Orthodox Church and retrofitting them into Coptic understanding and practical use is a good idea. Their Orthodox English songs will likely not be useful for Copts.
 

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you might check out Arvo Part and John Tavener.  Arvo Part is a contemporary composer who was Lutheran but converted to Eastern Orthodoxy.  A lot of his stuff is in English and a lot of the texts are orthodox in nature.  Tavener, who recently passed, was a convert to EO, he composed some orthodox minded stuff as well.  Later in life he kind of drifted away from Christianity though, but some of his stuff is great such "As One Who Has Slept."

I think the big reason us westerners like more contemporary music than the ancient sounds of Egypt or Byzantium is because our music is normally much less dissonant.  Much of western music, which has been greatly influenced by music from the Roman church, has a much more consonant tonal system.  Gregorian chant sounds much more pleasing to my ears than much of the chant music from the middle east, and folk Irish music sounds more pleasing to me than folk music from the middle east.
 
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