The Problem with Pews
#41
I don't see how standing is quite on the same level as fasting. I mean, I spend ca. 2 hours at the gym, so alternating between kneeling and standing for 1 hour and 40 minutes is pretty easy. Fasting, on the other hand, is way harder. One gets dizzy, impatient, cranky, etc., not to mention hungry.
Of course, this being my experience its anecdotal, but I suspect its more or less the same for others around my age.

Ratzinger concludes, in his Spirit of the Liturgy, that kneeling and standing are the genuine and irreplaceable forms of Christian posture for prayer, but he mentions there could be space for sitting. I never thought of this, but sitting kinda gives way to a more contemplative, interior, prayer (at least to me), so the parts of the Mass in which we are sitting are more directed to meditation (I in particular meditate upon what the choir is singing—the Gradual, and the Offertory. Come to think of it, we don't really sit that much, if we exclude the homily). While the other parts of the Mass I took to be more directed to what happens, so to speak (and one could argue we should be thus inclined during the Offertory, so that would be the downside). This is how I usually experience the Mass, and I never thought it was because of the influence of my posture, so its good to know (and it serves for those who think what we do with our bodies doesn't matter; surely it does).

Anyway, Easterners kneel way too little (if at all). But I realize they take the postures to have slightly different meanings.
Reply
#42
(09-16-2015, 11:36 AM)aquinas138 Wrote:
(09-15-2015, 11:02 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: It's interesting how this conversation wandered into the topic of fasting. How is standing and fasting the same, at a fundamental level, in our approach to God? I wouldn't have put 2 and 2 together, but it's given me some fodder.

That is interesting. I wonder if maybe they are connected. If we say that pews are a concession to weakness - I'm not necessarily saying that they are, given different cultural meanings given to certain postures in different parts of the Church - then I think they are connected topics. Both the Byzantine and Roman traditions acknowledge that we have to struggle against our weaknesses and baser appetites; the Byzantine tradition insists on standing as a way to fight against fatigue and the body's weakness, as well as to help focus the attention on prayer. It is the same thing with fasting; if you can master your own stomach, then you are well-equipped to master the other passions that rage in your body.

Regarding pews, it is interesting that the First Council of Nicaea (Canon 20) ordered that prayers be made standing on Sundays and throughout Eastertide; this has obviously long fallen into desuetude in the West, and I think there is a difference in meaning to the posture in East and West, anyway. Easterners never kneel on Sunday or during Easter because those periods are times of joy focused on the Resurrection of Christ; thus we stand in celebration with the Risen Lord and we stand at attention, attentive to the commands of our Master. Kneeling is primarily a posture of repentance for Easterners, which, culturally, is not the appropriate mood for such festive days. In the Roman Church, kneeling is less about repentance and more about humility. For the Westerner, when in the presence of the Almighty God, what is more appropriate than to drop to one's knees? We do stand at attention at certain times, particularly in the Divine Office or at the reading of the life-giving Gospel, but kneeling, the prized Western gesture of humility, is our basic attitude. So I don't think East and West have fundamentally different attitudes to decorum in worship, but they do invest somewhat different meanings to some gestures.

Very nice and interesting thoughts here. You know come to think of it, don't the Russian Old Believers make prostrations on Sunday's no matter what? That Old Orthodox Prayerbook I ( and you) have has elaborate instructions on when to bow, kneel, cross oneself, make prostrations etc. Even the preliminary bows and prayers before a prayer rule always require a prostration at the It is Truly Meet.

Different traditions for different folks i guess,but the interior sentiments are aiming at the same thing--- humility, repentance and communion with God.
Reply
#43
(09-16-2015, 08:41 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Very nice and interesting thoughts here. You know come to think of it, don't the Russian Old Believers make prostrations on Sunday's no matter what? That Old Orthodox Prayerbook I ( and you) have has elaborate instructions on when to bow, kneel, cross oneself, make prostrations etc. Even the preliminary bows and prayers before a prayer rule always require a prostration at the It is Truly Meet.

Different traditions for different folks i guess,but the interior sentiments are aiming at the same thing--- humility, repentance and communion with God.

I would like to know more about the original intent of that Nicene Canon; if it's because a gesture of repentance like kneeling is incongruous with Paschal joy, I'm not sure how a full prostration isn't. I'm also curious if the Nikonian reforms are when the greater Russian Church started interpreting the Nicene Canon that way and what prompted that. Greeks, at least in the US, commonly kneel at the epiklesis even on Sundays, so the canon has some flexibility in interpretation it would seem.
Reply
#44
(09-17-2015, 06:47 AM)aquinas138 Wrote:
(09-16-2015, 08:41 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Very nice and interesting thoughts here. You know come to think of it, don't the Russian Old Believers make prostrations on Sunday's no matter what? That Old Orthodox Prayerbook I ( and you) have has elaborate instructions on when to bow, kneel, cross oneself, make prostrations etc. Even the preliminary bows and prayers before a prayer rule always require a prostration at the It is Truly Meet.

Different traditions for different folks i guess,but the interior sentiments are aiming at the same thing--- humility, repentance and communion with God.

I would like to know more about the original intent of that Nicene Canon; if it's because a gesture of repentance like kneeling is incongruous with Paschal joy, I'm not sure how a full prostration isn't. I'm also curious if the Nikonian reforms are when the greater Russian Church started interpreting the Nicene Canon that way and what prompted that. Greeks, at least in the US, commonly kneel at the epiklesis even on Sundays, so the canon has some flexibility in interpretation it would seem.

That bolded part would indeed be interesting to find out, but not sure how it'd be possible. You know the more I try to delve into the Old Believer schism the more I think that they were correct in standing up for the very rich traditions Nikon tried to sweep away.  The Nikonian reforms were actually quite sweeping. Patriarch Nikon reminds me of a 17th century Bugnini in a way.

The contempt for legitimate Russian traditions, followed by centuries of horrific persecution, just boggles the mind. Something was lost. Of course on the flip side it was also extreme for certain old believers to believe that the Nikonian reforms rendered the sacraments ( mysteries) graceless and ineffective too. Kind of like some groups of our own Sedevacantists I guess. It's just nice that there are Old Ritualists like that community in Eerie.

You know, once I think I read that there's an old ritualist community or two that entered into the Catholic fold. Wonder what ever happened to them.

Reply
#45
(09-17-2015, 07:33 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote:
(09-17-2015, 06:47 AM)aquinas138 Wrote:
(09-16-2015, 08:41 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Very nice and interesting thoughts here. You know come to think of it, don't the Russian Old Believers make prostrations on Sunday's no matter what? That Old Orthodox Prayerbook I ( and you) have has elaborate instructions on when to bow, kneel, cross oneself, make prostrations etc. Even the preliminary bows and prayers before a prayer rule always require a prostration at the It is Truly Meet.

Different traditions for different folks i guess,but the interior sentiments are aiming at the same thing--- humility, repentance and communion with God.

I would like to know more about the original intent of that Nicene Canon; if it's because a gesture of repentance like kneeling is incongruous with Paschal joy, I'm not sure how a full prostration isn't. I'm also curious if the Nikonian reforms are when the greater Russian Church started interpreting the Nicene Canon that way and what prompted that. Greeks, at least in the US, commonly kneel at the epiklesis even on Sundays, so the canon has some flexibility in interpretation it would seem.

That bolded part would indeed be interesting to find out, but not sure how it'd be possible. You know the more I try to delve into the Old Believer schism the more I think that they were correct in standing up for the very rich traditions Nikon tried to sweep away.  The Nikonian reforms were actually quite sweeping. Patriarch Nikon reminds me of a 17th century Bugnini in a way.

The contempt for legitimate Russian traditions, followed by centuries of horrific persecution, just boggles the mind. Something was lost. Of course on the flip side it was also extreme for certain old believers to believe that the Nikonian reforms rendered the sacraments ( mysteries) graceless and ineffective too. Kind of like some groups of our own Sedevacantists I guess. It's just nice that there are Old Ritualists like that community in Eerie.

You know, once I think I read that there's an old ritualist community or two that entered into the Catholic fold. Wonder what ever happened to them.

There are a few, but I don't know many details; when several Russians came into communion with Rome under St. Pius X, permission was given for Old Rite priests to continue using the Old Rite. The saintly pontiff gave the principle that Russian Catholic worship should be nec plus, nec minus, nec aliter than the Russian Orthodox. The Russian Catholics suffered grievously under Communism, as did the Orthodox who didn't kowtow to the Soviets. Two of the priests that brought Old Rite communities into Roman communion were killed in the gulags.
Reply
#46
2 things i cant do....stand and fast, lol

this is why i bring my own seat

i dont mind if they get rid of pews as long as i am not stuck behind all the standing people
Reply
#47
(10-13-2015, 12:14 AM)Chestertonian Wrote: 2 things i cant do....stand and fast, lol

this is why i bring my own seat

i dont mind if they get rid of pews as long as i am not stuck behind all the standing people

The seats in Churches I've been to are usually along the walls on the three sides of the nave (not at the iconostasis, obviously), so you're behind *some* standing people.  Smile But there are times in Byzantine worship where you would turn to face all four directions (during great incensations of the Church), so sometimes you're facing standing people.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)