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Rushing Hymns during Liturgical Celebration
  • What is the Orthodox's Church stance on deacons or priests who rush you to pray or sing hymns because "mista3galeen" - ("we are late").

    Surely, its wiser to not sing additional hymns and pray what you can properly? 

    For example. I went to my Church so early. I was nearly the 1st one in the door.

    The priest came, and started vespers (matins) - that was rushed. 

    Then I wore as a deacon. 

    We then prayed the Agpeya. This was so rushed. I just barely opened my Agpeya and they had finished. - but that was OK.. perhaps I was slow.

    Then came Apenchoise - the introduction to Agios Otheos. This was really really rushed. I mean, the deacon just speed read it. I couldn't pray.

    At the end of the mass, I mustered the courage to talk to him, and said "are you aware that you rushed through Apenchoise? Do you know, when I sing this, I have to translate from Coptic to Arabic to English?" - He said to me "Listen! You don't understand, we are running late in the liturgy, and we have sunday school to give afterwards, and people work on Sundays!" 

    What the...???

    Hello!!???

    Is this normal? The reason why Im not catholic is because of the lack of respect I see sometimes in liturgy, but surely this also counts. There's nothing you can teach a kid in sunday school, tell them, educate them, or talk to them about anything that's more important than the actual liturgy. That has to be top priority?? no?


  • Zoxasi, do not be intimidated when someone lashes out like that. I have problems with a lot of things, some small and some big. I figure that if people are going to be aggressive towards me when I have concerns, then I will return the favor. Its not anger or mean, its standing up for what is right. No offense to anyone but Egyptians are always late but in such a hurry. For those of us that enjoy taking their time because we love being in heaven it makes it very difficult at times. One time I took Abounas clock off the altar and hid it, I figure time is of no worth in heaven, we are here to focus on Christ, not how much time we have. If someone works, let them go work, if someone is busy, let them go be busy. I serve Christ not man and certainly not a busy body that wants the whole service to be altered for him or her because they are a "doctor." Frankly, I do not care if you are the freaking pope, this is heaven, act like it. Good for you Zoxasi. 
  • For the record, this constant lateness nearly drove me from the church. Show up for psalmody and nobody would be there. Or midnight psalmody done at 6pm! I actually had a friend that I was working on show up and nobody else did and I did not have the keys. It got to be too much that I just stopped going on saturday, then stopped going on sunday, then nearly fell into despair for nearly two years I almost fell into a very deep hole for a very long time, if not forever. But now I am finding my voice and am standing up for truth more consistently and lovingly. Do what is right, not what you want to be right or according to anothers feelings.
  • Ioannes,

    God bless you for your desire to be in Church and in a House of Prayer.

    its sad really to see Egyptians behave this way. The same deacon was complaining about how Copts go to Protestant churches and leave the Coptic Church, and i think he is the reason behind that. 

    People need to at least enjoy the prayer. The words of our hymns, our arrow prayers, our tasbeha's, our Agpeyas, these words are very powerful and really cleanse the heart from all malice. 

    I think if such a deacon thinks anything is more important, then I pray seriously that he just gives the job to someone else to lead our deacons.


  • During the Epiphany of 1966, Saint Mark's Cathedral in Klot Bey was under renovation and without glass panes on the windows. Since it was very cold, Pope Kyrollos rushed the Divine Liturgy, being concerned for the congregation. He reprimanded the deacons saying, "I am rushing through the Divine Liturgy, and you are taking your time while the congregation is freezing in a church with no windows."
  • And if someone was dying or the roof was crumbling, then i too would rush, but to rush it for Sunday School??? are you kidding me?
  • "Zoxasi, do not be intimidated when someone lashes out like that. I have problems with a lot of things, some small and some big. I figure that if people are going to be aggressive towards me when I have concerns, then I will return the favor. Its not anger or mean, its standing up for what is right. No offense to anyone but Egyptians are always late but in such a hurry. For those of us that enjoy taking their time because we love being in heaven it makes it very difficult at times. One time I took Abounas clock off the altar and hid it, I figure time is of no worth in heaven, we are here to focus on Christ, not how much time we have. If someone works, let them go work, if someone is busy, let them go be busy. I serve Christ not man and certainly not a busy body that wants the whole service to be altered for him or her because they are a "doctor." Frankly, I do not care if you are the freaking pope, this is heaven, act like it. Good for you Zoxasi. "

    "People need to at least enjoy the prayer. The words of our hymns, our arrow prayers, our tasbeha's, our Agpeyas, these words are very powerful and really cleanse the heart from all malice. "

    - Completely Agree

    God Bless you both
  • im from a church where people actually made a huge problem with the priest because he didn't want to rush the liturgy... he was later moved and replaced by another priest because the people didn't agree with him on anything anymore! these "people" are just the rich big shot doctors who pretend to represent the congregation when they are actually not! It's sad that until now my church is practically run by them and no chances or opportunities are given to any younger deacons like me because of how structured they made everything :( the younger deacons in my church say "one day the revolution will overthrow the dynasty!" and so far we can't do anything about the rushing in church and the other problems. God help us!
  • I heard a story yesterday.

    A church had two priests. One priest often rushed through the liturgy whereas the other would take his sweet time. The congregation concerned themselves with both and complained about both to the bishop.
    The bishop called in the priests and asked them about the issue. The priest who rushes said "When I am in the presence of the Lord I just can't. I can't stand my unworthiness. I don't feel like I can be in His presence in my current state."
    The other priest responded "when I'm in the presence of the Lord I don't want to leave. I don't want to leave the warm comfort"

    Both were correct in what they said.

    This does not excuse the aforementioned issue (rushing for Sunday School - or worse because people have work) but it's food for thought :)
  • @childoforthodoxy
    Your story reveals an interesting dynamic. Deacons were doing their own thing even in the presence of Pope Kirollos. Whether they knew his reasoning or not is another matter. Anyway, today priests do run the show, is that right? St. Paul says no angel, or archangel can separate me from the love of God. But seriously though, what does singing hymns in the church and taking our time have anything to do with the love of the Lord?
    Oujai
  • @markmarcos

    Are you from Queensland Australia? Because something happened there with the most amazing priest... now his in Egypt, I am shattered :(

    You do have a point, there may not be an exact relationship with time spent in church with hymns and love for God, but these prayer times are the most beautiful times and most peaceful where we stand in the house to the angels in front of the altar with Christ upon it just pouring ourselves out before our God and Father and a lot of people would like to spend as much time as they can in this way, away from the world just standing in the presence of God and praising Him and Worshiping Him. And some people may find it very hard to accomplish this in a service that is rushed, the deacons are racing with each other and whatever else that happens during church services. In a book from the Serbian Orthodox Church there is this written in one of the back pages, after I read it it changed my attitude to prayer and church services.
    "In oral prayer we must try in every possible way to keep our mind fixed upon the words of the prayer saying it without haste and concentrating all our attention on the meaning of the words"

    Pray for my weakness,
    God Bles
  • Dear Faithful Servant 1,
    I was being sarcastic.. I agree with you 1000%
    Oujai
  • Guys,

    I love the story of the 2 priests... but rushing through hymns, and the Agpeya is just POINTLESS.

    No one scoffs down food - you either eat it properly or don't eat... just swallowing food without chewing it, assimilating it causes more problems than its worth. You'll get indigestion.

    The same with prayer.

    The most precious, intimate, and intense prayers are during the liturgy. This is the VERY reason why we pray for the raising of the waters, the Pope, the environment, the people ... etc.. because CHRIST IS PRESENT ON THE ALTER.

    He's there! So we just pray for these things. 

    Rushing it is just pointless.. Rushing out of respect is OK, if the priest is praying alone, but actually, the people should be praying WITH the priest. I mean to say: we ought to be praying inaudibly what the priest is saying also.

    In any case - if you are NOT praying, then you are not talking to God. You are just giving God lip service; you are doing a duty. You are not engaging in the words.

    Who benefits when you pray?? God or you??

    Does God become better when you pray  to Him??
    Does God become Holier when you pray to Him???
    Does God become wiser when you pray to Him?
    Does God become healthier when you pray to Him??

    No. You do!

    The Church is like a hospital where the patient is there to be healed, NOT the doctor!! Not the Physician. 

    Why under-value the Agpeya for?? 
    Why rush through Apenchoice!!??

    If this deacon does that again, I will complain. 

    Some people in this life care more about Customer Service (after sales) - I care about my spiritual life more than anything.

    This deacon should be fired.
  • no faithful servant... i'm somewhere in America but i don't want to say which church it is on the forum. 
    lol zoxasi i wish certian deacons could be fired too! haha
  • Hey Tenoosht,

    Do you know if parts of that story is fictional or if the first Priest was partially correct? From what my limited mind has read and seen, any obstacle that makes a person avoid the presence of God is from the evil one. If our own sinfulness is stopping us from the presence of God, this is also an attempt from the evil one and/or a weakness on our behalf. If we feel our sinfulness, it would make us feel the need for God even more. We read of so many Saints who would feel their sinfulness, yet take refuge in prayer. Here's what Saint John Chrysostom says, "Our sins should not stop us from prayer. We should be ashamed of our sins, but they should not keep us from our prayers. Even though you are a sinner, approach God with prayer, that you may be reconciled with Him; give Him an opportunity to forgive your sins, which He will, in order to reveal His love for mankind." In another instance, Saint John Chrysostom also says, "If you are afraid to approach God because of your sins, you are actually hindering Him, to the extent, at least, that is dependent upon you, from expressing His goodness and the wealth of His providential care. Remove afar, therefore, every hesitation and doubt about prayer because of sin."

    In our own Agpeya prayers, in the Troparia of the Second Watch of the Midnight prayers, it says 'When I am conscious of my sins, and when I think of Your judgement, I fear and tremble and run to You.' Also, in the Third Watch Troparia it says, 'O Lord look at my weakness with a compassionate eye, for my life is nearing its end and with deeds like mine, I shall have no salvation. I pray to You my Lord to look with merciful eyes at my weakness and my disgrace and my humility and save me.' Even as the Priest begins and continues throughout the prayers of the Liturgy, and in the prayers of Agpeya in general, the prayers have the mindset of 'although we are unworthy, please Lord make us worthy', or 'we are lacking in 'such a thing' please Lord grant us 'such a thing.'

    Although there are definitely exceptions, we should try not to rush our prayers, whether Liturgical or not. Imagine we talk with a friend and we say every word very rushed and want to leave to 'do other things' or want to leave their presence as soon as possible. Imagine speaking to a friend in the speed of the rush of the prayers that sometimes occur in the Liturgy or the Agpeya. How would our friend feel? Or if anyone here is a father or mother, would it hurt you if your child would speak to you as if in a rush whether your child has things to do or not? No doubt there would be some sort of sorrow from the friend or parent, or feelings that speaking to the friend/parent is like a duty or that we don't love being with him. The beautiful thing about God though, is because He is love, He remains silent, He doesn't react to man's weakness - He wouldn't be God if He did - but He sees the weakness of man and with all compassion still offers Himself on the Altar. If we have respect towards the people we speak to, how much more should we respect God.

    I do agree with Zoxa, we should spend time with God because we love and need Him, we give nothing to God, we are the one's who need Him.
  • Zoxasi, never have we agreed so much! My personal feeling is that many people within the church have no idea what we are doing or why we are doing it. Many lack the understanding or the importance of it. When I share with people what is being done, they do seem to enjoy it much more. What I will often do during psalmody is purposely sing much slower, but not to be disrespectful or sing it too slow, I sing it like it is sang on the recording from St Antonys monastery. Nobody seems to get upset though.


  • One of my senior priests always says that God gets His time and the world gets its time once we have given God's His. The only time he rushes the liturgy is if there is a baptism before and he is the only priest present or if there is a funeral afterwards and the cemetery closes early on weekends. He says that he needs to finish on time because the old people need to take medicine and stuff (we have a giant older congregation). That is reasonable to me. Another priest comes to church 15 minutes after the scheduled start time of liturgy is. Matins gets rushed and the whole liturgy gets rushed whenever this priest prays. I get angry and just don't come to his liturgies because I feel my time is being wasted. I can't pray and I feel like there is no point in saying Apetjeek evol, every Hiten in the book and Pinishtee and then pray the whole anaphora in 2 minutes. I love hymns and would love to pray them every week but if we are going to rush through the other stuff, there is no point. 

    Liturgies are getting shorter now, and people come later in the liturgy so the overall time that the average persons spends praying the liturgy is probably not even an hour. It is sad how it is coming to this. Our Christmas liturgy went from 5-12 to 6-12 to 7-12 to 7-11:30 to 6-11 over the years. Because you know, people need their boftik instead of celebrating our salvation.


Memorial for HH Pope Shenouda

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