St. Stephen's Musings

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:: Monday, April 26, 2004 ::

Liturgical Gripes Part I:
"All catechumens depart? Fine! Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione!"

For readers who think that after 6 years I'm still a doe-eyed convert who believes the Orthodox Church is perfect in every way....well, this series of posts will most certainly shock you.

Quite frankly there are elements of contemporary Orthodox liturgical practice that, IMO, range from the silly to the scandalous.

Let's start with something benign. In many Orthodox parishes the priest or deacon chants the litany at the transition from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Sacrament, but the corresponding action isn't actually carried it out.

Now, it is a fact that in the early Church the dismissal of the catechumens before the Eucharist was both widespread and well known. For a variety of reasons it slowly fell out of practice in the parish setting. In fact, other than in monasteries, I've never heard of or seen non-Orthodox actually dismissed from the Liturgy at the point called for in the rubrics.

We could debate whether or not the dismissal should be enforced in a parish setting (and, yes, I think there are solid points to be made on both sides of that discussion).
But I have a more fundamental set of questions that need to be answered first:
--To those parishes that don't use the litany--how can you justify your editing with the historical tradition and the liturigical rubrics?
--To those who do keep the litany but don't carry out what is proclaimed--why the liturgical schizophrenia?

My complaint is that both groups are editing the liturgy to fit a particular ideology. I continue to be stupefied by well as with other issues which I will muse about in Parts II and III of this series.

Update: Chrysostomos has a prediction: "what will eventually happen is that we'll kick the catechumens out, but let the vistors stay."

:: Karl :: 10:44:00 AM [Link] ::

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