Shortening Church Services??

Landon77

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The last parish I was in was a "convert parish," of mostly Episcopalians.  Around the same time as their tenth anniversary as Orthodox Christians they had started having trouble starting on time.  I think they were proud of this, as it was a sign that they were truely Orthodox.  :)  He told me the same thing when I expressed my frustrations- the last year or so I've began having such trouble being on time- I'm Orthodox!
 

Landon77

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Starlight said:
Actually, don't you think that the problem with Episcopalians comes from the fact that they did not establish an exact border line between theologumena and heresy. Theologumenas are needed, but not a heresy, of course. As a result, some people promote ideas, which cannot be supported by others. Honestly, some of these ideas seem totally strange.
Instead, when you have different traditions in various parsihes with the same dedication to Orthodox theology, - that would not hurt. This would be just a difference in customs, so to speak. And for technical reasons, (lack of priests, etc.) it cannot be always a solution.
There is no reason to fall out just because of the length of the service.
I don't think the problems in the Episcopal Church USA started with heresy, I think heresy was a result.  I think the problem was began by a desire to cater to the needs of the people in a non-spiritual way.  It was the "we can all live under the same roof but have different worship customs" thing.  It was a lack of dissipline that gave the reconstructionist an inch, and from that they took a mile.  But once again, fears such as these are the things you have when you used to be Episcopalian at one time.
 

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Νεκτάριος said:
Perhaps I'm going out on a limb here, but does communion really take that long in your parish?ÂÂ
It depends on what Church you belong to /Some of them don't have to many Parisheners amd some have a larg group of Parisheners
 

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Timos said:
Excuse me Fr. Paul, but I haven't read any comments on anyone wanting to cut the liturgy in half or cutting out communion so I assume you were being sarcastic. More English would certainly help and for children liturgies, I know some priests urge the chanter not to take their time on all the chants so it doesn't seem to drag on and on for the kids. Another method is to make the children learn the hymns (except for maybe the Cherubic Hymn and the kontakion etc) before hand and then they are really the choir, which I've heard countless times was the original practise.
Yes I was being sarcastic.  When my former Jurisdiction had a Church here in California in the City of El Monte it was parishioner'sthat were the Choir. and they made the liturgy go fast. as for shorting the Liturgy  as some have said I just added the comments of cutting the Liturgy in half and not do communion. ;D
 

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Landon77 said:
The last parish I was in was a "convert parish," of mostly Episcopalians. Around the same time as their tenth anniversary as Orthodox Christians they had started having trouble starting on time. I think they were proud of this, as it was a sign that they were truely Orthodox. :) He told me the same thing when I expressed my frustrations- the last year or so I've began having such trouble being on time- I'm Orthodox!
Lol.  Truly Orthodox, indeed! 

Another sure sign that you're on your way:  When those Holy Week services stop feeling quite so looooooooooong and you start thinking, "It's over already?" 
 

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Issues of length of services are not new or novel to North America. There were two changes to the Greek Typikon in the 19th century that were done to shorten the services (like not seeing the beatitudes during the liturgy, moving the reading of the gospel towards the end of Orthros so people will be around to hear it to name a couple). Today, our services in NA tend to be shorter than they are in the "old country" (at least for Greeks and Antiochians), we have pews to sit in and we still complain and come late for the services. This really throws me off. It's like my Greek brothers and sisters who complain of the relatively quick 1hr 15 min Liturgy (which they never make until the Little Entrance) and then go to the Greek monastery and stand for hours and say it was great.

I think current Greek and Antiochian parish "abbreviations" are enough as found in most parishes. (Let the monasteries keep the full services to show us how it is done) I also agree that the extra memorials, prayers etc. can be a little much and that some minor changes can keep the flow of the service. This requires judgement and discernment from the priest and bishop.

Basil
 

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BJohnD said:
On the other hand, in the Episcopal parish I belonged to before my conversion starting late was considered the Eighth Deadly Sin.
As it should be in the Orthodox Church.  There is no excuse for services not starting on time!
 

BJohnD

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Carpatho Russian said:
As it should be in the Orthodox Church. There is no excuse for services not starting on time!
I'll be sure to tell that to the priest!  :D
 

Fr. George

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I'm sorry if I won't sound too excited about shortening a commitment to God that it, at its longest, 1/56 of the week (3 hours).

Having grown up with children around, not all of them have to be near-ADHD during services.  If from a young age they are exposed to the whole service, then they'll be able to take it.  The kids that come regularly to Sunday services at Holy Cross Chapel, for example, don't get the shortest service, and a few of them are brought in halfway during Matins.  Guess what happens when Holy Week comes?  They can handle the lengthened serves in stride, no worse than we do.

When people drop off their kids at church Sunday morning and then go out for coffee, however (yes, it happens... I've seen it) then of course the kids will become fidgety in the services - they've gotten there late, never been on time, so the Liturgy seems like forever.

I see this all as being assisted by the short-attention-span culture we've promoted here.  It's not the cause, but it's giving quite a boost to the difficulties with standing through Liturgy.
 

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I also don't believe the services need to be shortened. Some could argue that the St. John Chrysostom Liturgy was an abbreviation of the St. Basil's Liturgy, which in turn was an abbreviation of the proto-liturgy of St. James. I believe that we do not have legitimate reasons to abbreviate the Liturgy further. Proponents of abbreviated Liturgies usually follow the tenets of modernism, which is the spiritual captivity of the Church to Western Culture.
      To give a practical analogy, if your foot is ailing, you wouldn't just quickly dip it in some water. You would let it soak. If children keep getting distracted away from the Liturgy with Sunday School, cry-room time, or simply being allowed by their exasperated parents to run around outside and play, these crutches will never allow them to grow in the liturgical life of the Church. You don't have to be your kid's pal. There is a time to be stern when they get out of line in Church. I disciplined my daughter when she was very little for disruptions during Liturgy, and now she's one of the best behaved kids in Church (of course, I may be a bit biassed. ;)   
 

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Carpatho Russian said:
As it should be in the Orthodox Church.  There is no excuse for services not starting on time!
Hmmm, I think both my Greek and Carpatho-Rusyn priests have internally synchronized atomic clocks. Services always begin exactly as scheduled.  :)

Shorten services? Never
 

Amdetsion

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Welcome Sean!!!

I pray that you continue to post with the true 'Orthodox' insight needed  on this website.

Thanks for your post.

And God bless you and your family.

It appears that you are raising your children in an Orthodox 'way' of raising; teaching them the rigors of the true worship while they are formative as we all should be doing and wanting to do for our children and our loved ones.

Orthodoxy is a way of life. The liturgy is our heritage a way to stay on line with our faith. The earlier we learn the better.

We teach our kids all kinds of things to put them "ahead" of the pack (if you will) in this world. But Christian fortitude seems to be something that comes with convenience. At lease for some. Maybe for too many.

The scripture teaches: O my brethren love not the world; neither the things that are in the world. For the world is passing away and the lust thereof for all is passing.

So many people on this thread need good Orthodox points of view like your. Myself included.

I am grateful for your insight.

Again thanks and God bless you.
 

Timos

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Ok, at this parish I sometimes go to and learn to chant at, the liturgy is "shortened" by not doing the small litany in between the "through the prayers of the Theotokos" and "Save us o Son of God" which is a repetition of "help us save us....rememebering our most..."
 

Timos

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---no ending there...neways as a result, the liturgy is about an hour long instead of 3. I like the 3 hour liturgies but its just hard when the litle kids give such a hard time. I sometimes think they won't like church at all and would stop coming all together when older because they remembered long services. Although what mosty parents want is for their children to love the liturgy.
 

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In my opinion, there is no need to make our liturgies shorter. Current Greek and Antiochian practice is good enough for none-monastic Divine Liturgies. For example, in Greek and Antiochian churches we chant for the First Antiphon: "Thru the intercessions of the Theotokos," instead of Psalm 102: "Bless the Lord, o my Soul...."

A Liturgy with one celebrant, no deacon, choir, no homily, no one receiving holy communion, should take approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let us add maximum of 10m for the homily, 20m for communion. Greek/Antiochian liturgy should take at least approx. 1hr30- to 1hr40m.

Here is a the order of the Liturgy with the approximate time for each part.

1. The Great Litany in Tone 8 - approx: 5:40m
2. The First Antiphon in Tone 2 — 56 seconds
3. The Little Litany in Tone 8 — 1:35m
4. The Second Antiphon in Tone 2 2:35m
5. The Little Litany in Tone 8 — 1:35m
6. The Third Antiphon —ÂÂ
Troparion for the Resurrection in Tone 1 While the stone…
  & the Little Entrance Hymn
  & the Kontakion to the Theotokos for ordinary Sundays. 4:00m
7. Holy God in Tone 2 — 3:50m
8. The Epistle reading — Alleluia in Tone 2 — approx 4m
9. The Gospel reading — Glory to Thee, O Lord…in Tone 8 — approx 4m ÂÂ
10. The Cherubic Hymn in Tone 1 — approx 8m
11. The Litany of Supplication in Tone 5 (enharmonic) —5m
12. The Peace in Tone 5 (enharmonic) and the Creed - 2m
13. The Anaphora in Tone 5 (enharmonic) — 5m
14. Megalynarion in Tone 5(enharmonic) It is truly meet… - 2-3m
15. Among the first be mindful, O Lord, of our Father, 1:23m
16. The Litany Before the Lord's Prayer in Tone 8 & 5(enharmonic)
   & The Lord's Prayer
   & One is Holy….        3:50m
17. Communion Hymn - Praise the Lord in Tone 8 — 4m
18. Blessed is He in Tone 2ÂÂ
   & Receive me today in Tone 8 (Ga)
   & We have seen the true light in Tone 2
   *Thanksgiving After Holy Communion*
   Let our mouths be filled with Thy praise in Tone 5
   & The Litany of Thanksgiving   -5m
19. The prayer behind the Ambon —1m
20. Blessed be the Name of the Lord in Tone 2 -2m
21. The Dismissal — 1:20m



In Christ,

SBDK
 

Psalti Boy

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kelfar said:
In my opinion, there is no need to make our liturgies shorter. Current Greek and Antiochian practice is good enough for none-monastic Divine Liturgies. For example, in Greek and Antiochian churches we chant for the First Antiphon: "Thru the intercessions of the Theotokos," instead of Psalm 102: "Bless the Lord, o my Soul...."

A Liturgy with one celebrant, no deacon, choir, no homily, no one receiving holy communion, should take approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let us add maximum of 10m for the homily, 20m for communion. Greek/Antiochian liturgy should take at least approx. 1hr30- to 1hr40m.

Here is a the order of the Liturgy with the approximate time for each part.

1. The Great Litany in Tone 8 - approx: 5:40m
2. The First Antiphon in Tone 2 — 56 seconds
3. The Little Litany in Tone 8 — 1:35m
4. The Second Antiphon in Tone 2 2:35m
5. The Little Litany in Tone 8 — 1:35m
6. The Third Antiphon —ÂÂ
Troparion for the Resurrection in Tone 1 While the stone…
  & the Little Entrance Hymn
  & the Kontakion to the Theotokos for ordinary Sundays. 4:00m
7. Holy God in Tone 2 — 3:50m
8. The Epistle reading — Alleluia in Tone 2 — approx 4m
9. The Gospel reading — Glory to Thee, O Lord…in Tone 8 — approx 4m ÂÂ
10. The Cherubic Hymn in Tone 1 — approx 8m
11. The Litany of Supplication in Tone 5 (enharmonic) —5m
12. The Peace in Tone 5 (enharmonic) and the Creed - 2m
13. The Anaphora in Tone 5 (enharmonic) — 5m
14. Megalynarion in Tone 5(enharmonic) It is truly meet… - 2-3m
15. Among the first be mindful, O Lord, of our Father, 1:23m
16. The Litany Before the Lord's Prayer in Tone 8 & 5(enharmonic)
   & The Lord's Prayer
   & One is Holy….        3:50m
17. Communion Hymn - Praise the Lord in Tone 8 — 4m
18. Blessed is He in Tone 2ÂÂ
   & Receive me today in Tone 8 (Ga)
   & We have seen the true light in Tone 2
   *Thanksgiving After Holy Communion*
   Let our mouths be filled with Thy praise in Tone 5
   & The Litany of Thanksgiving   -5m
19. The prayer behind the Ambon —1m
20. Blessed be the Name of the Lord in Tone 2 -2m
21. The Dismissal — 1:20m



In Christ,

SBDK
WOW!!! I thought I paid attention during Divine Liturgy.  Good job.
 

Simayan

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Thats a long time!

We start at 10 and are done by 11:30. 11:45 if there's a memorial.


Timos said:
We start liturgy @ 10 sunday mornings and end by 12 if we're lucky, but with memorials it can go into 12.15-12.30 noon.
 

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So far as keeping Children interested, we bring age-appropriate Bible storybooks for them to read whenever they start getting restless.

Shortening the Liturgy certainly seems synonymous to shortening our service to God. Why would we want that?
 

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then why don't the youth come to church? Even some all english speaking parishes (in north america) barely have any youth..I wonder what it is about religion that throws youth so far off...
 

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Actually, statistically, young people are more "religious" than anyone else. Of course, they might just appear "religious" because their parents make them go to church or something, I don't know. Still, I've read that when they measure the religiosity of people, the highest level is in children and early teens, then the level starts to drop dramatically in the mid to late teens and early twenties, and then somewhat levels off with a small decline for the next fifty or sixty years, at which point there is a slight increase again in old age.
 

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I recently visited an Antiochian friend at his parish, and their Bishop now has them:

1) combine some litanies so there are not as many "Lord, have mercies"
2) Omit even the 4 litanies before the Lord's prayer.
3) Postpone signing "We praise the, we bless the" till the prayer that follows "Changing them by thy Holy Spirit"

It was awful and confusion.  What is up with that?

Basil
 

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BasilCan said:
I recently visited an Antiochian friend at his parish, and their Bishop now has them:

1) combine some litanies so there are not as many "Lord, have mercies"
2) Omit even the 4 litanies before the Lord's prayer.
3) Postpone signing "We praise the, we bless the" till the prayer that follows "Changing them by thy Holy Spirit"

It was awful and confusion. What is up with that?

Basil
Perhaps their Bishop has a greater understanding of the Spiritual Needs of His Flock than a random outside observer; I'm sure that the service sounds perfectly natural and is spiritually uplifting to the community in question.
 

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Our head Priests during the most recent clergy meeting had to discuss the fact that after the Liturgy which is already 3 hours typically; longer on feast days making the worship service longer. Yes! longer.

Seems that people are lingering around after service and BIble study.

The Clergy is looking for ways to usefully use the time people linger to include worship elements.

Not likely that Ethiopian Churches will be shortening the services at any forseable future.

Thank God.
 

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Well, if you want to keep the little ones entertained, you could always do what the people in my church do, just let your kids run around in the Narthex for the entire service. It seems to work, the kids are quiet and there hasn't been any major disruption of any kind so far....

-Nick
 

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Timos said:
then why don't the youth come to church? Even some all english speaking parishes (in north america) barely have any youth..I wonder what it is about religion that throws youth so far off...
It's my experience that this is particularly true when the weekly visit to Church is the only expression of the family's Orthodoxy and the family church does not exist.
 

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BoredMeeting said:
It's my experience that this is particularly true when the weekly visit to Church is the only expression of the family's Orthodoxy and the family church does not exist.
So then it goes back to the family...which makes perfect sense. I'm thinking of the early Christian martyrs. They couldn't necessarily rely on a daily or weekly or even monthly 'supply' of church-going to nurture them spiritually because of persecution. I remember reading a story of Marina the Great Martyr and how she could not go to church with her other (adoptive) sisters living in the same house as her, so the 'mother' would take the dangerous trip to and fro the church and tell the girls what the feast day and homily was about. Thats kind of sad that many of our eastern orthodox churches, oca, greek, even other churches likes coptic, and catholic are full of old ppl or somewhat-empty most of the year. I wonder how the church will be in 50 or 100 years time...empty/closed down parishes or parishes which barely survive because ppl are 'forced' to come just to keep the church alive.
 

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admiralnick said:
Well, if you want to keep the little ones entertained, you could always do what the people in my church do, just let your kids run around in the Narthex for the entire service. It seems to work, the kids are quiet and there hasn't been any major disruption of any kind so far....

-Nick
Or you could do what they did in a parish that I once attended . . . let the kids run around the nave. My 3 year old (at that time, he's 4 now) kept asking us why the kids are running around.  I guess Γιαγια & Παππου taught him well.  He would sit through the entire Liturgy quieter than the adults sitting in the back talking about last night's ball game.  The Altar boys would even poke and slap each other, make faces and laugh . . . and neither the priest, deacon or their parents ever spoke to them about it.

PB
 

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There were two changes to the Greek Typikon in the 19th century that were done to shorten the services (like not seeing the beatitudes during the liturgy, moving the reading of the gospel towards the end of Orthros so people will be around to hear it to name a couple).
My understanding is actually what the Patriarch of Constantinople did was formalize and codify changes that were already taking place in various places in a haphazard manner.  I think the heart of the issue is that non monastic parish churches were struggling to maintain the monastic typikons which had come to predominate the liturgical life of the church.  That is probably still the issue.

It may very well be that I am not fully Orthodox, but to be honest after about an hour and a half I start to lose focus (speaking of the normal weekly liturgy I should say).  I know we should enjoy the liturgy if it went on for hours and hours, etc., but I know I couldn’t do it.  My daughter can pretty much tolerate the full liturgy, but my son can only go so long.  Having Sunday School after communion to me is a blessing, because they are both ready to do something different at that point.  Often my wife or I will spend as much time corralling my son as we will following along with the service.
 
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