Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some Random Thoughts From My First Three Months as an Orthodox Christian

Here are a few things that have taken a tour of my mind over the past several weeks. Some are recurring and some are not. I just thought I would share.

- Clint


I hope I get to have bay leaves thrown at me next year.

I appreciate the Orthodoxy Clergy – every one of them. Even the ones I probably disagree with about some things.

After a lifetime of being “in church,” I have never met more authentic Christians than I have in the past few years of being associated with Orthodoxy.

I wish someone had told me that different priest have different opinions on whether or not you should close your lips over the spoon when receiving communion.

I am glad that a particular priest said, “close your lips” very quietly, so that not everyone in the parish could hear.

Coffee hour is a great idea (even though I don’t drink that vile stuff).

I miss Catechumen class (though I don’t miss being a catechumen).

Something new in the Divine Liturgy jumps out at me each and every week.

My favorite part of the Divine Liturgy has been and continues to be the Trisagion Hymn.

I enjoy singing in the choir.

It is amazing that they let me sing in the choir after my first attempt at chanting.

I enjoy learning the chants for Vespers.

Am I the only one who wonders why some priests’ vestments have high backs and some don’t?


I am glad that my wife came around….


I am looking forward to Fr. James getting back – and not just so he can take over his blog again.

13 comments:

elizabeth said...

Wow - I had no idea that some actualy wanted you to close one's lips - good to know for future reference

"I wish someone had told me that different priest have different opinions on whether or not you should close your lips over the spoon when receiving communion."

I am glad, however, that the small 't' traditions are not uniform; seems more real this way.

Cabbage said...

I'm pretty sure the high backs on the priest's outer vestment (felon) came about because big Russian churches can get really drafty. A greek-style felon is typically made of lighter material.

Same reason Russian priest's hats tend to be thick and warm, while Greeks wear those light caps with the tiny hole at the top.

s-p said...

Yep, closed lips are a common thing. That's why I stand back in line when I visit so I can see what everyone else does in that parish. High backs on vestments is a Russian thing. I've heard it was to keep the cold off the neck of the priest. But I'm sure it has some "spiritual meaning". I was received ten years ago and they promised me a decoder ring in the mail so I'd know all this stuff, but it hasn't come yet....

Judge373 said...

Slavic tradition = Stiff, high backed vestments

Byzantine tradition = loose backed vestments.

Michael Kendall said...

Clint, you can come back to Catechumen class anytime you want! We miss you and your family. Besides, other 'graduates' come back for a refresher.

James the Thickheaded said...

I've wondered that too about vestments. Good to know the high back is to cover up the heat pump!

Actually, I resemble so many of these remarks... it must be a common thing.

d.burns said...

I was told the the high backs were a monastic thing (very common on Athos) Their easier to make than the tapered low neck types and their not as tailored so more body styles can wear them. I've also seen Slavic clergy who wear the low neck style and Greek/Antiochian clergy who wear the high neck style. In the end, it may just be personal preference. As one priest I know says... it's all good. ;-)

Clint said...

Who knew the vestment comment would get the most response....

And we might just drop in on occasion to the catechumen class. But we are also looking forward to Fr. James' class when it starts back up.

I am anxiously awaiting my own decoder ring...

It is nice to know that one is not alone.

Fr. James Early said...

Hey, everyone! We're back! We had a great time, but it's good to be home (although we will miss the cool weather there!). I hope to write a few posts about our time there over the next few days if I can find the time. (This weekend will be very busy; among other things, I will be doing my first solo wedding).

Thanks, Clint, for holding down the fort. I hope you and James will keep the posts coming.

BTW, the high-back vestments are are both an Athonite AND a Russian tradition. In the US, however, as someone pointed out, some priests wear both kinds. Our pastor, Fr. Matthew, generally wears Byzantine style low-back ones, but he also has a couple of pairs of high-backs just for good measure.

Jason E. said...

As for closing your lips, we have a priest and a deacon in our own church who do it different ways. The priest doesn't seem to care but the deacon has a strong opinion on the matter.

John said...

Great post, though I am disturbed by the reference to coffee as "vile stuff." Really, now. I suppose one COULD be Orthodox and not drink coffee during coffee hour--I've just never seen it done :)

Clint said...

I hope one can be Orthodox and not drink coffee - because I can't stand the drink. Of course, my wife drinks enough for the both of us...

Fr. James Early said...

Oh, and Clint, I've got you covered on the bay leaves. Next year, you and your family will be SHOWERED with them! :-)