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Western Office for Orthodox as a more extensive prayer rule?


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#1 kshaft

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:21 AM

Considering the Divine Office of the East is much more complex and lengthy than the western Office, and is not really meant to be prayed alone and is very difficult to adapt to doing so, I was wondering if it would be acceptable to pray a western version of the Divine Office (an Orthodox one such as St Benedict's rule or perhaps a Sarum rule that is authentically pre-schismatic)?

 

The reason I ask is that even though there are western rite parishes, they are often called into question (justifiably I might add...) as to their Orthodoxy, and their utter lack of success in most cases. So am I better off just avoiding even trully pre-schism Orthodox rules of prayer such as the Blessed St. Benedict of Nursia because of the deadening of such rites through non Orthodox sustainment of said rites? Or could I use it  to incorporate a more complete psalter reading  through St. Benedict's rule because everything is self contained in a Monastic Diurnal and I can read the entire day office (complete) much much easier than I could even the read a skeletonized version of the office in the Eastern tradition and in about a third of the time...? Or is perhaps the Western Office less conducive to Orthodoxy than the Eastern and should be avoided for this reason?

 

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 



#2 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 11:48 AM

It depends what exactly you want to do, as far as I know the Divine Office (also called the Liturgy of the Hours) is the collective term for various services done each day. In terms of the Lesser hours (1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th hours) the Eastern tradition is fairly simple outwith lent after the trisagion prayers there are three set psalms followed by the troparion of the day, trisagion prayers, Kontakion of the day, prayer of the hours, some form of dismissal with a closing prayer. Small Compline is also pretty simple, it is only Vespers and Matins that provide any challenges. That being said I don't see anything wrong in using the Western tradition as long as it is pre-schism, the problems with western liturgies is somewhat complex, but I don't think there is any trouble with the hours, for one the original rule of St Benedict survives and can be used without trying to unravel later additions ect... However, from what I understand the hours differ slightly depending on the day or time of year, so whether they are simpler depends what Eastern office they are being compared with. They do have the advantage of giving one a set place for reading the scripture, whereas Eastern hours do not have scripture reading most of the year except Vespers and Matins. 

 

What ever you choice to do consult your spiritual father, he may not mind what you do or he may give you some guidance or even instructions as to what to do. 

 

In Christ.

Daniel,


Edited by Daniel R., 11 March 2013 - 11:49 AM.


#3 Anna Stickles

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 12:08 PM

I don't know anything about the western office, and am not quite sure what you are looking for, but doing the Hours (1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th)  at home is not difficult and only takes about 15 min for each of them.  For the Tropar and Kontak one can be really simple and use the ones for the day of the week, or one can get the Tropar and Kontak for the saint of the day from the OCA lives of the saints website.   During Lent the hours are a little longer since they have the Psalter readings included. If one is short on time, there is the option to just do one stasis instead of the whoel Kathisma.  Since for 6th hour in Lent one needs the Lenten Triodion for a couple things, you could probably work out with your priest an acceptable shortened version. 

 

Typica is not that difficult or long either. and can easily be done at home, likewise Compline. Vespers and Matins are the complicated services, but I don't know anyone that does these at home. 

 

Most people do  some set of standard morning and evening prayers from one of the prayer books, or put together a rule with the help of their priest if they want to get more complicated.  Orthodox haven't tried to standardize things like the Catholics have, it is rather encouraged that a prayer rule be put together that is adapted to a person's individual needs.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 11 March 2013 - 12:16 PM.


#4 Anna Stickles

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 12:30 PM

Just a further observation,  this adaptation of the Divine Office to individual circumstances happens in every monastery and parish, not just with people's individual home prayer rules.  This keeps the fullness of the Liturgical Tradition from being sacrificed to the human weakness that is always present in changing circumstances, and this is why the Orthodox have never had something like in Vatican two where the whole liturgical tradition, got messed with in order to adapt it to modern circumstances.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 11 March 2013 - 12:31 PM.


#5 kshaft

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:45 PM

Just a further observation,  this adaptation of the Divine Office to individual circumstances happens in every monastery and parish, not just with people's individual home prayer rules.  This keeps the fullness of the Liturgical Tradition from being sacrificed to the human weakness that is always present in changing circumstances, and this is why the Orthodox have never had something like in Vatican two where the whole liturgical tradition, got messed with in order to adapt it to modern circumstances.

 

Well I should have explained that I am trying to read the entire psalter in one week.  Now I think you read a total of almost 400 psalms if you include the midnight office in the Eastern Church because of all the static Psalms in the Hours. The Western offices dont overlap so much(some dont overlap hardly at all...), and they can be read as a private devotion more easily length wise and complication wise. I could say typical morning and night prayers, then try to read a little hour and maybe compline and add the Kathismas to three of these.

 

Well Vespers and Matins are trully the 'meat' of the office. I can say Lauds and Vespers in the Benedictine office in just over an hour.  Vespers and Matins in the East can take Four Hours in a monastic setting. Unless Im doing that liturgically I have no interest. Uggg...

 

I did use to read the Benedictine office, with the monastic diurnal so I am familiar with it.

 

Thanks for replies,

KS

 

As



#6 Anna Stickles

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 12:32 PM

Just a note that as far as I have seen,  Compline when done, is used as evening prayers not in addition to them, so people will do one or the other not both.

 

Also one thing to think about  - much of the meat of Vespers and Matins is the hymns to the saints.    One can see from this that these services are very much more geared toward being corporate services - celebrating the Church in its corporate identity - not primarily private services. They originate from the time the Jews would gather for the evening and morning sacrifices, and even all the way back to the Jewish tradition these sacrifices were corporate events, while the prayers of the hours were done privately wherever one happened to be.  (See NT references to praying at various hours)  


Edited by Anna Stickles, 13 March 2013 - 12:40 PM.


#7 Anna Stickles

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 12:57 PM

I assume you have seen the Orthodox schedule for reading the Psalter in a week with two Kathisma in the morning and one at night?  In  monastery the morning psalms are usually read at Matins, and the evening ones at Vespers but what you suggest above would work fine, reading two kathisma with the morning prayers and one with evening prayers, or reading one with morning prayers, one with one of the hours and one with evening prayers.

                   

Sun morning  2-3, evening none

Mon morning 4-5, evening 6

Tue morning  7-8, evening 9

Wed morning  10-11, evening 12

Thu morning  13, 14, evening 15

Fri morning  19,20, evening 18

Sat morning 16,17, evening 1


Edited by Anna Stickles, 13 March 2013 - 12:59 PM.


#8 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:47 PM

Another possible method to read the Psalter during Great Lent is

 

Mon: morning- kathisma 4/ stasis 1; 6th Hr- 5/1; 9th Hr- 6/1; Vespers (evening)- 18/1

Tues- 7/1; 8/1; 9/1; 18/2

Wed- 10/1; 11/1; 12/1; 18/3

Thurs- 13/1; 14/1; 15/1; 18/1

Fri- 19/1; 20/1; 18/2

Sat- morning-16/1; evening- 1/2 (do this if you are attending Vespers on Sat evening; if not start the Sat evening cycle on 1/1).

 

for each week of Grt Lent follow the same patterns of kathisma Mon- Fri; but read the next stasis (eg Mon 2dnd wk- 4/2; Mon 3rd wk- 4/3; Mon 4th wk 4/1; etc).

 

for Sat- 2nd wk- 16/2; 1/3; 3rd wk- 16/3; 2/1; 4th wk- 17/1; 2/2; 5th wk- 17/2; 2/3; 6th wk- 17/3; 3/1

 

for those who have in the past gone through the Psalter according to the pattern prescribed for the daily services in Great Lent, you will understand the logic of what I have outlined.



#9 kshaft

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:16 PM

Thank you for the replies!   



#10 kshaft

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 09:06 PM

Just a note that as far as I have seen,  Compline when done, is used as evening prayers not in addition to them, so people will do one or the other not both.

 

Also one thing to think about  - much of the meat of Vespers and Matins is the hymns to the saints.    One can see from this that these services are very much more geared toward being corporate services - celebrating the Church in its corporate identity - not primarily private services. They originate from the time the Jews would gather for the evening and morning sacrifices, and even all the way back to the Jewish tradition these sacrifices were corporate events, while the prayers of the hours were done privately wherever one happened to be.  (See NT references to praying at various hours)  

 

Are you talking individually or Cathedral? In my experience Compline in monasteries, has been said typically either right in the refectory immediately after dinner (having said vespers earlier) or shortly after dinner in the chapel. Compline is a later development I believe, but its more of a night prayer than say evening. I typically will not say Compline if I go to Vespers though and go for "prayers before sleep" instead. So it is interesting you say that...



#11 David James

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:21 PM

Well I should have explained that I am trying to read the entire psalter in one week.  Now I think you read a total of almost 400 psalms if you include the midnight office in the Eastern Church because of all the static Psalms in the Hours. The Western offices dont overlap so much(some dont overlap hardly at all...), and they can be read as a private devotion more easily length wise and complication wise. I could say typical morning and night prayers, then try to read a little hour and maybe compline and add the Kathismas to three of these.

 

Well Vespers and Matins are trully the 'meat' of the office. I can say Lauds and Vespers in the Benedictine office in just over an hour.  Vespers and Matins in the East can take Four Hours in a monastic setting. Unless Im doing that liturgically I have no interest. Uggg...

 

I did use to read the Benedictine office, with the monastic diurnal so I am familiar with it.

 

Thanks for replies,

KS

 

As

 

The Psalms are the basis of the Divine Office, East and West, and if what you really wish to do is read the Psalter through each week, then why not simply read the Cell Rule as appointed in the Psalter, with the assigned daily kathismata? That is the real Eastern Orthodox equivalent of a layman reading the Roman Breviary.



#12 kshaft

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 02:54 AM

The Psalms are the basis of the Divine Office, East and West, and if what you really wish to do is read the Psalter through each week, then why not simply read the Cell Rule as appointed in the Psalter, with the assigned daily kathismata? That is the real Eastern Orthodox equivalent of a layman reading the Roman Breviary.

Hello Mr. James. I think I will incorporate the little hours into morning and night prayers of the Jordanville prayerbook. I could substitute (and have before) the cell rule for one of the hours, but in doing so would I substitute the psalter for the Jesus Prayer or do both together? I do have your Psalter and yes it is my favorite. Its almost too easy to pray... I hopefully await the smaller version as I keep the big one at home and use Holy Dormition's or Holy Transfiguration's one when out and about. 

 

Thanks all.

 

KS



#13 Anna Stickles

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 11:00 AM

The Lenten hours are a little different then the regular hours do you have instructions for these?


Edited by Anna Stickles, 14 March 2013 - 11:08 AM.


#14 kshaft

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 05:10 PM

I think that is what Fr. Raphael listed out above.



#15 Anna Stickles

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 12:09 PM

What Father listed was just a personal variation for reading the Psalter during Lent.  Its an example of what I talked about above of how tradition is adapted to personal circumstances, since according to the full typicon the whole psalter is read twice in a week during Lent instead of just once. 

 

In order to understand his shortened version, you have to understand how the regular typicon is set up during Lent to accommodate the extra psalter readings. At this time, the Psalter,  instead of just being read during Matins and Vespers according to the schedule I listed above, is also read during the Hours. (you can see the regular and Lenten schedule here as well as a general explanation of how the Psalter reading fits in with the rest of the Typicon.)

 

What I was talking about was the content of the actual services of the Hours. During Lent there is a special Lenten tropar and kontak which replaces those for the saint of the day, and also the prayer of Saint Ephraim is added as well as the extra Kathisma of Psalms .  I was asking if you had an example of the Lenten Hours and knew how these services were put together.  It is not that hard, but I had to have someone show me.  I could post it if you like.



#16 Anna Stickles

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 01:41 PM

I realized maybe I was mistaking what you were saying above, and you were not actually interested in doing the Hours (meaning the services of the Hours) but just interested incorporating the Psalter into your private morning and evening prayers.

 

I guess the thing to realize about the Orthodox typicon is that the Daily Cycle includes two independent and self contained parts -

 

1. the Daily Services,  (Matins, various services of the Hours, Vespers, etc.) which as you note above have different psalms as an intrinsic part of the service,

2. the reading of the Psalter

 

For the full typicon, the Services and the Psalter are combined according to the schedule listed in the link I gave above, but the Psalter can also be used completely independently in conjunction with one's private prayer rule and you don't have to do it with the services they are assigned to. 



#17 kshaft

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:20 AM

I realized maybe I was mistaking what you were saying above, and you were not actually interested in doing the Hours (meaning the services of the Hours) but just interested incorporating the Psalter into your private morning and evening prayers.

 

I guess the thing to realize about the Orthodox typicon is that the Daily Cycle includes two independent and self contained parts -

 

1. the Daily Services,  (Matins, various services of the Hours, Vespers, etc.) which as you note above have different psalms as an intrinsic part of the service,

2. the reading of the Psalter

 

For the full typicon, the Services and the Psalter are combined according to the schedule listed in the link I gave above, but the Psalter can also be used completely independently in conjunction with one's private prayer rule and you don't have to do it with the services they are assigned to. 

No, You were right, I wanted to say the hours but incorporate the full weekly psalter into the hours. Since the Eastern Matins and Vespers are impractical to say (where the majority of the Psalter is said) I was wondering about going back to the Benedictine Office where I can say the full cycle in a fraction of the time. I would miss some psalms not saying Matins but I guess thats less important to me than saying a complete day office. I mean that would be what Id like to do first, and saying the entire psalter would be second... Its just much easier to adapt to private devotion and get nearly all the services with a better number of the psalms, canticles and the like... But as St. Ambrose said "When in Rome..." and here it would be "When in Moscow..." 



#18 Warren Bensinger

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 12:39 AM

Might I suggest taking a look at the following site?

 

http://orthodox.seas...st/seaside/home



#19 David James

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:02 PM

Hello Mr. James. I think I will incorporate the little hours into morning and night prayers of the Jordanville prayerbook. I could substitute (and have before) the cell rule for one of the hours, but in doing so would I substitute the psalter for the Jesus Prayer or do both together? I do have your Psalter and yes it is my favorite. Its almost too easy to pray... I hopefully await the smaller version as I keep the big one at home and use Holy Dormition's or Holy Transfiguration's one when out and about. 
 
Thanks all.
 
KS


Christ is risen!

Sorry for the delayed reply, but I have been traveling and don't have frequent access to the Internet.

To faithfully recite the morning and evening prayers as set forth in the Jordanville Prayer Book is a standard that, modest as it may seem, is difficult to maintain with consistency for most, especially when combined with consistent attendance at all the scheduled services of one's member parish and the requirements of daily life.

The "cell rule" (i.e., reading the Psalter and Canticles, in whole or in part) can easily be incorporated into the above, as we have already discussed.

For scetes and small monasteries that don't have the books or resources to perform the full cycle of daily services, there is the Rite of the Twelve Psalms, and that would be the better option for those who want a fuller prayer life, rather than inventing an idiosyncratic cycle of one's own. Just bear in mind that the Rite of the Twelve Psalms is *in addition to* - not a substitute for - one's usual morning and evening prayers.

The short of it is that both Eastern and Western Rites have traditional systems for recitation of the Psalter. In fact, the Eastern Church has two - one that is part of the public Divine Office and one for private individuals (the Cell Rule), but only the Western Rite has any provision or tradition of private recitation of the Divine Office. In the East, recitation of the full cycle of daily services is perceived as a corporate affair.

#20 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:18 PM

There is no need for Orthodox Christians to have recourse to 'western' practices.  St. Seraphim of Sarov taught everyone the following rule of prayer:


“Let every Christian, upon arising from sleep, stand before the holy icons, and read the Lord’s Prayer thrice, in honour of the All-holy Trinity, then the hymn to the Theotokos “O Theotokos and Virgin, rejoice…” three times as well, and finally, the Symbol of Our Faith once. Having completed this rule, let each one attend to the tasks to which he was appointed or to which he is called.


“During work at home or while travelling somewhere, let him quietly say “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” If there are others in his vicinity while he is working, let him silently repeat “Lord have mercy,” until supper. 

 

“After supper, upon completing his tasks, let him quietly say “Most Holy Theotokos, save me a sinner,” and let him repeat this until falling asleep.


“Going to bed, let every Christian again say the above-mentioned morning rule. Thereafter, let him go to sleep, having protected himself with the sign of the Cross.”


St. Seraphim said:


“Keeping this rule, it is possible to reach Christian perfection, for the three prayers indicated are the foundation of Christianity. The first, as the payer given to us by Christ Himself, is the model for all prayers. The second was brought from Heaven by the Archangel to greet the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. The Symbol of our faith contains in brief all of the salvific dogmas of the Christian Faith.”


This is enough to be saved.



 


Edited by Andreas Moran, 08 May 2013 - 07:31 PM.





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