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Piepnevma during wedding
  • Hello everyone, Khristos Anesti, Alithos Anesti.

    So this came up as I was talking to some deacons about my wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I understand that Piepnevma is generally not said at the ceremony during the Holy 50, because "Pentecost hasn't happened yet," which does not make sense to me at all.

    Isn't Piepnevma the hymn of the Holy Spirit? and it is sung because through the Holy Spirit, the two become one?

    If anyone can make sense of this, please help me out :)
  • The reason is that the rites for a wedding change during the holy 50 days. For example, the beginning and ending procession would be "Ekhristos Anesti" as opposed to "Ep Ouoro" and "Shere Maria." The hymn "Pi epnevma" at its origin is a hymn about the day of Pentecost and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. Because we are in the season directly before that, the rites call for this prayer to be omitted. I was at a wedding during the holy 50 and the choir prayed the hymn "Tin Anastasin" instead of "Pi epnevma" as a sort of replacement. I'm not sure that this was exactly correct, but I'm just giving you an alternative as an example. The other thing to keep in mind is that, just because this hymn is not sung, does not mean the Holy Spirit is not descending and working in you both to unite you. The hymn is not said at every Eucharist, or during the unction of the sick, or during confession, but we obviously know the Holy Spirit is descending during these services.

  • Is the omission of Pi Epnevma an opinion, interpretation or a result of local customs, or is it indeed the proper rites for the wedding held in the holy 50 days? I am asking because I do not know but my experience is different. 

    I had my wedding in the Holy 50 Days and Pi Epnevma was chanted. I made a request to the lead Episaltos to pray the whole hymn rather than the shortened version for occasions. Every other wedding in the holy 50's featured Pi Epnevma as per the usual wedding rites. The only variation is the length of the hymn to save time, which is another issue.

    The hymn is indeed important to call the Holy Spirit, why else do we pray anything if it has no effect? 
  • The Didymus Institute in Cairo and the Clerical college teach that the Hymn of Piepnevma is not chanted during any church service from Easter until after vespers for the Feast of Pentecost. Instead a Resurrection hymn from the procession may be chanted and since Ibrahim Ayad chanted Tin Anastasin at his own sons' wedding a number of years ago many have followed suit. I normally chant Pikhristos aftonf as a coptic alternative and not to repeat the Greek Khristos anesti again.
  • speaking of weddings... can someone tell me where i can get estilem ya arese in arabic because my brother and i are saying it at my sisters wedding...
  • @drewhalim May I ask how you knew he chanted Tin Anastasin at Anton's wedding? And if you happen to have a copy of this, can you make it public?
  • I knew cantors who attended and also at the time the videos were all over the net including coptichymns.net.
  • Thank you Aiernovi. I'm aware of the rites but I'm asking about the reasoning. You mention confessions and other sacraments where we don't sing Piepnevma, but these are services where the hymn is not part of them.
    For weddings, we are actually omitting the hymn from the service. I know those are the rites, just doesn't make sense to me. I find it similar, in a way, to how people used to omit parts of the creed during Holy Week, because it was "church rites" but also never made sense and that was changed by the Holy Synod.
  • mmkhalil10,

    It's funny you use the example of the omission of parts of the creed. You are right in saying that this was changed by they synod. But, actually, fairly recently, I heard that this was changed again, and the synod ruled that the practice of altering the creed should be resumed. I'm not 100% positive about this, so I would love someone to confirm. But, if true, is a good analogous example to omitting Pi epnevma during weddings. It's actually also similar to how we omit "ke anelthon yes tos oranos" from the Trisagion during the first 39 days of the resurrection. Or even how we change the Trisagion hymn itself during various seasons of the year. Just some thoughts.
  • I too would like someone to confirm whether the Holy Synod decided to resume shortening the creed in Holy Week.
  • Congratulations on your wedding!! Im over the moon for you.

    God bless your marriage!

    XX

  • I'm going to reiterate what Ramez has eloquently said time and time again. Rites and customs were always part of a whole liturgical theology and practice. If a local custom has a unique change, the basic theology should remain intact. Instead, we are seeing a plethora of new customs that have nothing to do with liturgical theology and everyone is coming up with some sort of contemplation to explain the deviation of the local custom. 

    When we focus on finding (a better word would be creating) an explanation for a local custom, and we give it enough time, that explanation will not make sense and the rite or custom reverts back and forth. Even customs that are universal now were not associated with a particular service and are given various "explanations". (The Judas procession or the general funeral, for example) If however, we focus on a liturgical theology - one that is based in patristics, history and commonality, we see formulae that make sense and maintain throughout the Orthodox world. And every deviation of local custom should still fit the liturgical formula. If it doesn't, then it should be removed or adjusted.  


  • I do not see why Pipnevma should be omitted. I think we should understand the context of the hymn...its not strictly chanted to celebrate the feast of Pentecost! The reason why it should be said is because that is the time the Holy Spirit comes and descends on the bride and bridegroom and thus uniting them in Christ to be one flesh. 

    Even if one were to argue this point, you will find that this hymn is chanted during annual periods in which Pentecost is not being celebrated. 
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    The Holy Spirit and Christ is one. During the holy fifties the church is focused on the resurrection of Christ. Resurrection rites trump every other rite, including saints' commemorations..
    Oujai
  • Remnkemi wrote:


    I'm going to reiterate what Ramez has eloquently said time and time again. Rites and customs were always part of a whole liturgical theology and practice. If a local custom has a unique change, the basic theology should remain intact. Instead, we are seeing a plethora of new customs that have nothing to do with liturgical theology and everyone is coming up with some sort of contemplation to explain the deviation of the local custom. 


    When we focus on finding (a better word would be creating) an explanation for a local custom, and we give it enough time, that explanation will not make sense and the rite or custom reverts back and forth. Even customs that are universal now were not associated with a particular service and are given various "explanations". (The Judas procession or the general funeral, for example) If however, we focus on a liturgical theology - one that is based in patristics, history and commonality, we see formulae that make sense and maintain throughout the Orthodox world. And every deviation of local custom should still fit the liturgical formula. If it doesn't, then it should be removed or adjusted

     

    Excellent post. I hope you or others with similar background can help me out with some questions I have.

     

    I am trying to relate the omission of Pi Epnevma in weddings with the anaphora, the rite of baptism and other prayers during the sacrament of matrimony.

     

    In the inaudiable prayers of the anaphora, the Holy Spirit is invoked and supplications are made by the priest to the Father to send the Holy Spirit to sanctify the bread and wine and “transform” it into the Body and Blood of the Lord, as well as sanctify the believers for communion.

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    The Spirit descends on the offerings and believers and these prayers are not omitted in the Holy 50 days.


    The same is valid for baptism during the Holy 50 days. The rite of baptism clearly invokes the Holy Spirit and there could be no efficacy of the sacrament without the descending of the Spirit on the water.


    In fact, the Holy Spirit is invoked during the rite of marriage and the sacrament has no meaning without the Spirit Who unites both into one body, and the prayers related to the Spirit are not eliminated during the Holy 50 days.


    So why only eliminate “Pi Epnevma”?  


    For background, I am an average deacon with limited knowledge of the liturgical development across the ages, so the questions may come across as uneducated and my interpretation of liturgical prayers might be off. But I love hymns, and specially this one for very personal reasons.


    Any help is really appreciated.  


      
  • Let me first say that I am not a liturgist. Ramez is the person to answer. But keep in mind that most of the Coptic liturgical rite is not studied at all. There are fragments of critical research here and there. Most of these studies deal with the liturgy of the faithful in particular or the liturgy in general.

    Pipenevma is part of the liturgy of the catechumens during Pentecost. As a whole, the liturgy of the catechumen is widely variable in the Coptic Church compared to other Churches, as well as compared to the Coptic Church from the medieval times. However, the formula is fairly consistent: The Pauline, the Catholic, the Acts, the Little procession (of the Gospel), the Psalm and the Gospel. Recently, fillers were added, like the Synaxarium (13th century), the Intercession hymns, seasonal hymns and the glorification, and the homily. 

    The Trisagion is very old, but it is not always placed in the liturgy of the catechumen. 

    Other places in the Offeratory and the liturgy of the faithful that invokes the Holy Spirit is present but the context and formula is different than Pipnevma. These invocations of the Holy Spirit are generally prayers of uniting and making the particular sacrament happen. Pipnevma, on the other hand, is essential two parts: the beginning is an introduction, then the paralex begins with Acts 2:1. Then it continues with words based on Acts 2:3, then expounds on what the Holy Spirit did on Pentecost. So it makes sense that Pipnevma should be reserved for the Pentecost. BUT IT IS NOT. It is said during the ordinations, during the receiving of new priests, during the lakkan, and of course during weddings. As far as I know, pipnevma is still said during applicable occasions if they occur during the first 49 days of the Pentecost days. There doesn't seem to be a sufficient reason to remove it only for weddings. 

    One thing I would caution everyone is to associate Pipnevma with the actual descent of the Holy Spirit. It is not. Pipnevma follows the liturgy of the catechumen to prepare our minds and hearts for receiving the Holy Spirit. The actual descent is during the laying of hands after they are crowned.(The marriage equivalent of the liturgy of the faithful.) Trying to associate the removal of the hymn Pipnevma with the actual descent (or lack of descent) of the Holy Spirit, is theologically absurd, as you have shown. 

     Sorry I couldn't help with more information.
  • Thank you so much for taking the time to elaborate and expound on the issue.

    You are right about the descent of the Spirit being invoked by the laying of hands rather than the hymn, noting the importance of the hymns.

    So simple and fundamental a "theological " move or action just shows how lovely our rite is.

    Thank you again.
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    @Stavro
    The content of the liturgy of the faithful doesn't change with any particular season at all with regards priestly ritual arrangement. As remenkimi pointed out what changes are the congregational hymns. Bebnewma isn't usually part of the liturgy of the faithful except in rare cases..
    Oujai
  • Rem,

    I think its fair to say the Pipnevma is relevant in the wedding ceremony. Yes, we agree it is not the actual moment of the Holy Spirit's descent, that part is clear, but the context of the hymn is relating to its descent and work in the holy church of God...and as a couple, they would symbolize the church. So it makes perfect sense to chant this hymn. 
  • The teaching as I have said before is that Piepnevma is not chanted during any church services whatsoever from Resurrection until after Vespers for Pentecost. I have never seen any rite where the hymn is chanted during the Lakkan services or baptisms?

    According to the teaching I received it is for Penetecost during the Liturgy of tge Word, the Third Prostration service, clerical ordinations and Crowning ceremonies with the exception of day 1-49 After Easter. As its use is limited in our church I do not believe there is a justified link between chanting this hymn and tge descent of the Holy Spirit. I think you will all agree it is always for the Priest to supplicate the descent of the spirit in any church service and not the congregation via a hymn. As a final note the words of the hymn as nice as they are tell the story of Pentecost as a statement of fact as we see it and they do not link to any other churxh sacrament or service except by spiritual interpretation.
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    Well said @drewhalim
    Oujai
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    Correction to my next to last post: only changeable priestly part is the fraction prayers..
    Oujai
  • Ophadece, Thank you for the confirmation. I understand it better now. Is it a local development though, or maybe an ancient rite has been retrieved locally by some liturgists but not generalized (yet)? I have attended weddings in Cairo, Alexandria, Miami, Houston, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver during the Holy 50's Days and the hymn was chanted without exception. It seems that the primary reference is Muallem Ibrahim Ayad, the Institute of Coptic Studies and local traditions. Drewhalim, I did not say that the hymn is said during Baptism. I said that we are calling the Holy Spirit during the Baptism liturgy by the whole body of the rite and this is done during the Holy 50's with no omissions of the congregational responses or the priestly prayers. Regards
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    @Stavro
    I'm not the best one to answer those questions, with regards the history and practice development. All I can say some people including Ibrahim Ayad unfortunately like singing hymns over meaning of the rituals, so there's no surprise a lot has been muddled up or lost its meaning..
    Oujai
  • I just checked a manuscript from the Digital collections at the University of Bonn that had an 1888 AD manuscript of the Coptic wedding rite. The book is called "Kitāb rutbat al-iklīl al-ǧalīl ʻalā mauǧib tartīb al-kanīsa al-qubṫīya al-urtuduksīya al-marqsīya". It has 4 parts, each with acts, psalm and gospel. None of them have any hymns after the reading of the Acts. 

    I checked Coptic Museum Lit362. It is dated 1749 AD. It has more sections. There is a section called  Tarteb alladhin yuridun al-ittisal bi-al-zijah al-thaniyah, alladhln hum aramil (The Order for those who desire union in a second marriage, who are widowers). This section has the same Pauline epistle from Ephesians as we have today, the same Psalm and the same Gospel. On folio 38v, after the Pauline is read, the hymn that is said is Nikhora, then an Arabic madeha, then a hymn "Soo enhydria emmo" (Six jars of water) that ends with Isos pikhristos ensaf nem vooy (Jesus Christ the same yesterday..), then Evnouti vethemton (God who rests in His saints from the Thursday theotokia), then there is a rubric "If it is the feast of Nativity or the Pentecost, say what is appropriate, then continue (I can't make out the words here). After this, the priest reads the litany of the Gospel and the psalm is read." 

    Keep in mind, Lit362 is very different than what we do today. In another section of the rite, called Min ajl qiyam al-zawaj (Ceremony for the inception of the marriage), there is a procession for the couple where Agios Istin is said with many, many hymns. The manuscript needs a critical review which has not been done. 

    So you can see, according to Lit 362, you are supposed to say Resurrection hymns. However, the more modern manuscript has no hymns between the Pauline and Psalm/Gospel. Notice, that Pipnevma is never mentioned in any manuscript. Pipnevma is a recent development. I will try to find more manuscripts, God willing. 

    I hoped this helped.
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    @remenkimi,
    That's very helpful and enlightening. I guess in the olden days people didn't mind praying for long hours and singing for a lovely and usually once in a lifetime occasion, saying usually, to comply with such a manuscript for those who desire a second marriage, that is widowers. Nowadays, the prayers are limited to 30-45 minutes because there are so many arranged in a row. And even if the trend is to pray those in mornings now, the original rite was neglected enough that books don't mention those if at all, although I cannot be so sure. Another example of neglecting and then inventing. Sad state to me really
    Oujai
  • Thanks Remnkemi. Truly appreciated.

    So it seems that, according to your findings, that the insertion of Pi Epnevma is the recent development, and not its omission.








  • Ophadece,

    I would not deny your assessment is necessarily wrong. We see a general trend for neglecting rites and services then inventing reasons (like I said before). However, one thing we must keep in mind. As Baumstark showed in the early 20th century, comparative liturgics is an ecclesiastical organism. Rites develop all the time, in every church. Just like a biological organism adapts and adjusts to environment, liturgical rites, music and texts, even Coptic linguistics adapt and adjust to the environment.  Our conservative church has conditioned us to be conservative, especially in the practice of hymns. We may not like any deviation of tradition but it has been shown that liturgy is a dynamic process. This is why it really gets me upset when someone says so and so muallem changed a hymn or added a musical note or made up a hymn, or so and so hymn text is wrong, or Greek must be taken out of our church, or this Coptic word is pronounced this way and not that way. Even if such accusations are true, it only reflects the organic development of musical tradition, not malicious neglect. 

    So Pipnevema is not necessarily an abandonment of an old tradition and adoption of a new hymn because of laziness or time preferences. It is a natural development in rites, albeit, one that seems to be haphazard and not consistent with liturgical theology. But on the flip side, nothing in Pipnevma contradicts the sacramental theology of weddings and the seasonal dismissal of the hymn during Pentecost period may be a local custom (which is not followed very much today) based on an ancient practice. 
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    @remenkimi
    You confuse me because your post is contradictory in itself. My only comment is if something is haphazard it's an invention. If something is studied and agreed, most probably recorded, it's a development..
    Oujai
  • It is not self contradictory. Haphazard changes occur all the time in biology. It happens also in anthropology, linguistics, music, and all fields of social science. Science doesn't tell us what uniformity or universality shouldn't be. It is not proscriptive. It is descriptive. Scholarly studies do not condemn or denounce change. It only describes patterns of change, as best as possible. The problem occurs when politics enters the picture. When people operate with political mind (I'm not talking about politicians. I am talking about us who view the world in a political manner), they take some scientific evidence and draw conclusions outside the evidence.

    The word invention is semantically proscriptive, implying negative intent and setting up a false dichotomy against natural development. If we were to use your definition of development and intent, nearly every hymn and rite would be an invention for two reasons: (1) a rite or a hymn may be agreed upon but never studied or (2) if it is studied, the conclusion is not agreed upon. This is, in fact, the issue that started this discussion (the use of Pipnevma). We see that it is neither agreed upon, nor studied. But so is just about everything else we do in liturgical rites. We can't call everything an invention. It is for this reason, I am saying that even apparently haphazard findings is descriptive evidence of development.
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    @remenkimi,
    So we agree on the core issue. So this is an example of a haphazard inclusion. This shouldn't happen in the Orthodox church. That's my view..
    Oujai


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