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A must-watch! In this 30 minute sermon, H.G. Bishop Raphael, Secretary of the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod, explains the characteristics of Orthodox worship, and contrasts this with Evangelical Protestant “praise and worship”.
H.G. Bishop Antony of Ireland, Scotland and Northern England concludes:
“Unfortunately Pentecostal and Protestant thought has entered our Church by means of servants. And unfortunately it has entered our Church by means of priests. And it is being spread. And right now when anyone says anything they say you are closed-minded, etc. To the extent that we’ve now come to the point where we have the ‘Better Life’ team and Sameh Maurice, the Pastor of El Dobara [Evangelical Church]; he comes here and [people say] “We all went to his gathering!” What is this? Why? And not just this, even the priests attend! And participate in the gathering! Whereas the verse says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” [Ephesians 5:11].”
Oujai khan ebshois
The main point of the post was to share the very important video by Anba Raphael, not so much the concluding comments by Anba Antony.
As for the incident Anba Antony was referring to, perhaps you are unaware because it happened across the Atlantic in Toronto. It was Church worship (actually, much worse than just that), not a charity event. There is a video of this event on YouTube, but I will not post it because I don't think Mina would appreciate that. If you PM me, I can link you to it.
Even for charity events, I think we need to be very very careful. I would oppose these groups attending charity events, because at the end of the day they are producing "worship music". That people find this music appropriate for non-worship fundraising purposes does not allow for an exception. On the contrary, it only goes to show how dangerous this music is, in that it distorts and does not conform to the proper spirit of worship.
No, of course I was not aware of that incident you mention, but not sure if Anba Anthony was referring to it at all.. I do also take your point on charity events but muslims and people with other religions attend, so for me choosing such groups is harmless by all means.. only my personal opinion..
Oujai khan ebshois
I am almost certain Anba Antony was referring to this incident, because he refers to a priest attending and *participating* in such a gathering. That cannot happen in very many places. Also, in the context of Anba Raphael's talk on Protestant songs immediately preceding it, the participant in question is arguably the strongest clerical advocate of Protestant songs in the whole Land of Immigration, so it makes sense for Anba Antony to refer to this.
For charity events, we also have to make sure that this is not just an excuse or an undercover way for Orthodox youth who want to pray with Protestant songs.
Oujai khan ebshois
Completely went over my head.. hehe.. sorry man..
Oujai khan ebshois
HG Bishop David is there and gives his blessings to the Mission Church. Let us all work together instead of basing our opinions on hearsay and unfounded rumours.
LITURGICAL WORSHIP AND LITURGICAL LIFE
Liturgy does not mean some hours spent by believers – clergymen and laity – in participating in the Eucharistic liturgy, performing on vesper or matin or baptism or marriage celebrations etc., but it is in its essence the true communion with Christ. This liturgical life is not lived only when a believer participates in common worship whatever it is, but it dwells within his heart even when he is alone in his room. In other words “liturgy” is a life which the church practices, through which she acknowledges her nature, realizes her message and attains her own existence which is life and growth in Jesus Christ.
In fact, we use the word “liturgy” for common worship, because the believer participates in this worship with the members of the community. This membership is alive and active and it represents a part of his entity. He is a member even when he is alone speaking with God in his own room. The holy community is in the heart of the real believer, and the believer is within the heart of the church community. In other words, when a believer prays in his room, he realizes that all the church is within his heart, praying in her name, calling God: “Our Father” and not “my Father who art in heaven.” At the same time, when the community prays it endows its members, present and absent with love."
Don't know what everyone is on about. From what I have seen on YouTube the Toronto Churches behave perfectly Orthodox in their practice.
1. There is more than one church in the area qawe is referencing.
2. Posting one video of one Liturgy doesn't prove that at least some of these churches don't sing Protestant songs after Psalm 150 in the Liturgy. Ask the priests of these churches themselves if they do it or not. I don't think they're ashamed of it. I think they will tell you "yes" and give you their reasons for doing so. If they have changed this practice, I glorify God.
HG Bishop David is there and gives his blessings to the Mission Church.
In addition to qawe's more than adequate response, I would only state that I don't think H.G. Anba David's involvement (may God lengthen his days) with the "mission churches" (which in this thread has come to mean those churches attempting to reach "the youth" by means of adopting Protestant praxis, not those churches actually engaged in mission to those outside which do not adopt Protestant praxis) means that His Grace necessarily approves of every facet of what they are doing. To my understanding, His Grace has clearly stated where he stands on Orthodox vs. Protestant praxis and materials as it pertains to the education of our youth.
and on reaching out to those outside:
Let us all work together instead of basing our opinions on hearsay and unfounded rumours.
First of all, I don't think that qawe or anyone else has engaged in "unfounded rumor mongering". Rather, he has posted proof to substantiate his claims. Secondly, saying "let's all work together" sounds nice, but work together to what end? Those working to incorporate Protestant praxis into the life of our Church are working at cross-purposes with those who wish to see Orthodoxy transform the society in the Lands of Immigration.
I think that video looks a bit dated and cannot be included as any sort of evidence.
I disagree. The video is evidence. I would like to see evidence posted which indicates that the Church in question has disavowed and discontinued such praxis. Are you contending that this is the case?
Some random unofficial YouTube account showing a video of ONE choir does not represent the everyday conduct of the Church.
Whether or not the video is "official", the indisputably inappropriate event it shows took place with the full knowledge of the clergy. If you or anyone else really wants to go down this road, I'm sure you know it would be very easy to post proof of "official" announcements of Protestant "praise & worship" fests at various churches that countenance this sort of thing. You also state that this sort of behavior is relatively commonplace in many churches. You can't have it both ways. Said behavior is either commonplace, or an aberration. It can't be both. Either way, it has to be addressed. Protestant praxis cannot remain a part of the life of our Church moving forward.
We don't know if people in the video go every Sunday or even attend that Church.
We know that the inappropriate event took place with the sanction of the church, which is enough. If the people in the video skip a Sunday or two, or if they don't attend this parish, but were permitted to carry out their performance (it is not really praise or worship) there, what does that matter if they have the sanction of the church? Do you have reason to believe that these people don't attend this church, or that they carried out some kind of rogue guerrilla performance in the parish without the knowledge or sanction of the clergy?
There's no context in the video of when the singing was done
Inappropriate Protestant praxis in a Coptic Orthodox Church in the presence of clergy. There is the context.
or if it continues to be done that way.
Is there any reason to believe that it does not?
There are many Churches which do same type of singing in youth groups and not the liturgy.
And that is a huge problem that must at some point be directly addressed. Thank God that H.G. Anba Raphael, H.G. Anba Abanoub and H.G. Anba Suriel are doing so.
The fact that such has become commonplace in some Coptic Churches due to lack of education, poorly articulated ecclesiology, and a dreadful and dangerous misconception that the Protestant churches are part of the Church does not make it normal in an Orthodox context.
We cannot base judgement on hearsay (even our Bishops can get information from hearsay) so unless we have actually visited and seen for ourselves I don't think we can just make claims or websites claiming all the wrong things about a particular Church.
Who here has gotten their information from hearsay? I haven't. I only speak to things I know about firsthand, and I limit my commentary greatly at that. I could call out specific names and cite all kinds of specific sources, but I don't. I try to be discrete. So please don't ever say I operate on hearsay or that any site I'm associated with does. Qawe also doesn't. He has posted proof. Are you saying that H.G. Anba Raphael and H.G. Anba Anthony were? I doubt you're better informed on the matter than they are.
Again, I don't spread rumors and I don't get caught up in them, but neither will I pretend that Protestant praxis or materials in the youth meetings, the Liturgy, or anywhere else is normal or acceptable for our Church, may God save it. Lord, have mercy.
Qawe, frankly, people like you give me hope for the future of our Church. No one relishes talking about this stuff. I hate to, frankly. I find it painful and embarrassing. The fact that I hate discussing this stuff is why I have limited my posting on this forum to a trickle in recent years. But what is the alternative? Accepting the fallacious idea that Protestant praxis in our Church - in our youth retreats, in our youth meetings, even in our Liturgy - is normal? No. There is a difference between commonplace and normal that cannot be stressed enough. This behavior must be corrected. I would honestly prefer it be corrected quietly, but if those who wish to promulgate the idea that Protestant praxis in the life of our Orthodox Church is normal do so publically, then the notion must be publically refuted, and I thank God that our bishops like H.G. Anba Raphael, H.G. Anba Anthony, and H.G. Anba Suriel have the guts to do so, as well as steadfast person like you. God reward all of you and preserve your lives. It's people like you who help to keep me from leaving for another Orthodox jurisdiction (I could never leave the Orthodox Church), because I will not raise my family in a "high church"/"low church" atmosphere where "traditional" (read: Orthodox) parishes exist alongside those that sanction Protestant praxis. Pray for me, please. I need it.
btw, I just wanted to add that while the video you posted contained no blatantly heterodox praxis (thank God!), it's not all that brilliant either. Some of the modern Roman Catholic songs used are rather banal, and the pop-like rendition of the Byzantine Psalm 135 chant quite odd.
At this link, you can see EVERY liturgy of St Paul's American Coptic Orthodox Church, Tustin, California under H.G. Bishop Serapion and Fr Kyrillos Ibrahim: https://m.youtube.com/user/stpaulochymns
While the video you posted is not bad, I think St Paul's is the Orthodox model for us all to aspire to.
Beautiful article, Abouna!
The Criteria of the Coptic Orthodox Song
The Committee of Faith, Education and Legislation, Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church
14th June 2003
1. The sentences of the Orthodox song should be far from claiming the guarantee of obtaining the eternal life through faith only without deeds.
2. Be far from claiming that repentance without baptism is considered a new birth, such as the following statements: (in a moment of change, to be born as new).
3. The song must emphasise the value of the deeds next to the faith, because faith without works is dead, as what comes in a prayer in the Sunset Prayer [Eleventh Hour of the Agpeya (Horologion)] “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where shall I, the sinner, appear?”
4. The sentences of the song should be far from implying that the past sins of man and present [sins] have been excused through faith without practising the sacraments of repentance and confession such as the statements saying “I am now renewed” or “victorious and more than victorious”.
5. The song should not be against or devoid of Orthodoxy, meaning that it is neither ANTI nor NON.
6. The song should not encourage neutrality, meaning neither being Orthodox nor Protestant.
7. The Orthodox song is not an emotional song, meaning touching emotions for the person, far from the spirit of repentance and being near to God.
8. The Orthodox song must be void of heavy musical instruments, as rock music, jazz, and fast tempo, and the loud sound of the drums, but should be accompanied by light music and composed upon the ecclesiastical chants and the chants of the tasbeha [Midnight Praises].
- H.G. Bishop Raphael, Secretary of the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod
I think that's just code for "some of the other bishops don't want to get rid of it".
Anyway, that's a different topic because these are songs that developed organically in an "Orthodox" environment.