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Becoming a reader?


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#1 Reader Nektarios

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 07:50 AM

Hello everyone,

I have always been curious about how readers become readers? Do they ask the Bishop or are they just selected?
I'm not looking to become a reader, for I am not worthy of such office, just curious about the process of it all.

In Christ,
Nektarios

#2 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 11:40 PM

I doubt that there is a one-size-fits-all answer for this. My friend Nick never had any desire to be a reader, but was very (VERY) good at chanting. One day, the bishop was at his parish, and Nick was chanting for the service. At one point in the service, the priest came out from the altar and whispered something to him, after which he looked shocked but continued chanting. Then, the bishop tonsured him.

Jeremy

Edited by Jeremy Troy, 23 January 2011 - 11:51 PM.
Inserted link.


#3 Father David Moser

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 12:18 AM

Generally the rector of the parish or the abbot of the monastery will ask the bishop to tonsure a particular person as a reader or ordain a reader to subdeacon. If the bishop has no objection and there is no impediment (such as a divorce and remarriage) it is generally done during the hours of the hierarchal liturgy. Candidacy for ordination to major orders (deacon/priest) is essentially the same but with some added scrutiny and often a requirement of seminary or pre-seminary education as well as the endorsement of one's spiritual father.

Fr David

#4 Olga

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 04:41 AM

It should also be remembered that the readers in a great many parishes are untonsured. It is still possible to read in church without formal ordination. The most senior reader in the local Russian church where I live has been reading (and singing) since he was about 17 - some 33 years later, he has remained unordained. This is by no means an isolated incident, in my experience.

In my experience, who gets to read (and I include readings for Vespers, Matins, the Hours, as well as the Epistle) depends on many factors. Some start as singers/chanters in the choir, then take on reading; with others, it's the reverse. Choirmasters or choirmistresses might tap someone on the shoulder who they perceive to have a good voice and ear; sometimes it's the priest or deacon. Others volunteer, though, in a few cases, even after guidance, their ability might not quite match their enthusiasm. :-)

#5 Reader Nektarios

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:25 AM

I think my Priest and Deacon want me to be tonsured. Gods' will be done though.

#6 Anthony Stokes

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 01:57 PM

The responses so far seem the norm for the Russian tradition. In the Greek church, at least in America, most young boys are semi-unknowingly tonsured as readers so that they can read the Epistles. This usually happens between the age of 9 and 12, but sometimes later. I was 19, mainly because I was never in town when the bishop came once every 5 years. I say unknowingly, because you're not really told that it is the first step of the priesthood, and most never think twice about it. There is a separate tonsuring for chanters that is done.

Sbdn. Anthony

#7 Father David Moser

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 02:41 PM

I think my Priest and Deacon want me to be tonsured. Gods' will be done though.


Even if you are asked to be tonsured, you have the choice to refuse. No one can force you to be tonsured against your will. I have a friend who adamantly refused any suggestion that he be tonsured a reader because he did not want to get on the track of ordination to major orders and in his opinion, once you are a reader, you are bound by obedience if other such "suggestions" come along to agree.

Fr David

#8 Reader Nektarios

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 03:39 PM

Father Bless,

Thank you for that info Father. I'm not completely opposed to the idea but I'm not going to pursue it as a personal goal. If for some reason it happens God must have wanted it. His will be done.

In Christ
Nektarios

#9 Anthony Stokes

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 06:49 PM

Even if you are asked to be tonsured, you have the choice to refuse. No one can force you to be tonsured against your will. I have a friend who adamantly refused any suggestion that he be tonsured a reader because he did not want to get on the track of ordination to major orders and in his opinion, once you are a reader, you are bound by obedience if other such "suggestions" come along to agree.

Fr David


Reminds me of a certain 4th century bishop, I think John was his name, that was so against be ordained, he wrote a book about it. ;)
Sbdn. Anthony

#10 Mark Harris

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:11 PM

and there is no impediment (such as a divorce and remarriage) it is generally done during the hours of the hierarchal liturgy.

Fr David


Father Bless, Would a divorce prior to conversion to Orthodoxy also be considered an impediment in the same way?
Kissing your right hand
Mark

#11 Father David Moser

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:16 PM

Father Bless, Would a divorce prior to conversion to Orthodoxy also be considered an impediment in the same way?


That is actually a matter of discretion that belongs to the bishop - it all depends on him.

Fr David Moser

#12 Paul Cowan

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 03:03 AM

Father Bless, Would a divorce prior to conversion to Orthodoxy also be considered an impediment in the same way?
Kissing your right hand
Mark


It is in my diocese.

#13 Darlene Griffith

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 12:26 AM

Are women allowed to be tonsured as readers? I'm not asking if they are allowed to be readers, for there are women readers in my parish. What I'm asking is if women can be tonsured as readers.

#14 Father David Moser

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 02:06 AM

Are women allowed to be tonsured as readers?


No. The very service itself explicitly states that this is "the first step of the priesthood" and thus it is not possible for anyone to be tonsured a reader who could not later become a priest (thus the concern about "impediments").

There is one instance of which I have been told where a woman was tonsured as a reader - but that action was not accepted by the Church at large. The idea was that if the order of deaconess could be revived that this might be then acceptable, however, it is my opinion that the understanding of what a "deaconess" is and her role in the Church is widely misunderstood and that this action was a result of such a misunderstanding. (But I don't really know - its just my opinion)

Fr David

#15 Father David Moser

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 02:20 AM

I would like to point out that this topic deals with the process of how a person is nominated and tonsured a reader. Please do not let it wander off into the issues of women's ordination and other such things. If you wish to discuss that, then may I recommend visiting here or here. Also a deeper discussion on the minor orders (readers and subdeacons) can be found here

Fr David Moser

#16 John Konstantin

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 05:15 PM

I agree this thread is about the manner in which a reader may be selected. But I could not resist showing a pic of a female tonsuring. Not because I agree but because it was something that was asked about. I find it totally disturbing and it was precisely such sillyness that started the rot in Anglicanism. Let this picture be a warning. That said, if the moderators wish to move this post else where, I won't be offended :)

http://web.archive.o...ry/DSC01313.JPG

#17 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 05:42 AM

A brief question: is it the case that the office of the reader is the first step toward the priesthood, or is it the case that tonsure is the first step toward the priesthood? I would have to think that it would be the former, since female monastics receive tonsure in the same way that male monastics do. Also, is it the case that a person may only wear the cassock after receiving tonsure? I ask because I have seen a female chanter at a GOA parish wearing a cassock, and I wasn't sure whether she was a tonsured reader or not. I know that in many monasteries the novice will wear only the inner cassock until he receives tonsure, at which point he may wear the outer cassock. However, other monasteries will not permit the novice to wear any form of cassock. Seminarians also wear a cassock, but I believe that this is always the inner cassock unless the seminarian has already been ordained (or tonsured?). Can anyone speak more knowledgeably about the difference between the inner and outer cassock, and the relation of these garments both to tonsure and to ordination?

Jeremy

#18 John Konstantin

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:35 AM

I am only learning all of these vagaries myself but I will have ago before the more knowledgeable join in. First I think you have to distinguish between clerical tonsuring and monastic tonsuring. They are not the same thing. The tonsuring and ordination of a Reader is an admittance to the clerical state. Monastic tonsuring is an admittance into the monastic state. They are not the same thing. Females may become monastics but I am not sure they can become admitted to any of the orders of priesthood, including Readership.

Also we are tonsured at chrismation. This does not mean you have become a cleric or a monastic. In other words, tonsuring is used for three distinct charisms.

As for what people wear. Non ordained or non-tonsured Readers are sometimes to be seen in the Greek tradition in the outer cassock as is the tonsured Reader. Not so in the Slavic use where I believe they wear the under-cassock with or without the stikhar.

In my tradition I am allowed as a subdeacon to wear both inner and outer cassock whilst in the choir but outside of the choir my under cassock or if serving in the altar with sticharion.

Not sure if that helps :)

#19 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 03:11 PM

There is, if you haven't noticed, a great deal of confusion in the world, on gender, on "rights and priviledges", on "power", and many other things. Even bishops can occasionally get caught up in it and sometimes questionable decisions get made. Such things tend to be localized and self-correcting over time however. That is the nifty thing about consiliarity.

#20 John Konstantin

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 05:30 PM

Such things tend to be localized and self-correcting over time however. That is the nifty thing about consiliarity.

I agree and it covers many areas where maverick notions and practices occur. The wonderful nature of Orthodoxy that the Holy Spirit protects and guides it and conciliar and synodical means are just one of the ways in which He does this. Blessed be God!




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