Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Metropolitan Philip moves Theophany?

Two readers emailed me asking if Metropolitan Philip had issued a mandate for all parishes in the Antiochian Archdiocese to celebrate Theophany during the Liturgy on Sunday, January 5, 2014 instead of on Monday, January 6, 2014. Can anyone speak to this?

UPDATE: Here is one such letter from the directive.


To all Clergy,

Greetings in the name of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ as we embark upon the feast of Epiphany.

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP directs all of you to celebrate the major Feast of Epiphany on Sunday, January 5th instead of Monday, January 6th due to the fact that more faithful, especially children, will be present on Sunday than Monday. This way, more parishioners and their children will witness the full feast which they will otherwise miss. This means that Epiphany Orthros (Matins) and Divine Liturgy variables will be used this Sunday, in addition to the Sanctification of the Water service.

May you have a wonderful service this Sunday and a glorious new year in His service.

Take Care and God Bless,
+Bishop NICHOLAS
Bishop of Brooklyn and Assistant to the Metropolitan
The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese

16 comments:

  1. I have not been in the Antiochian jurisdiction for many years now, but I remember that occasionally a feast would be transferred to a different date, and I never understood why that could be allowed. It did not happen often; however, it did occur.

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  2. I'm not sure the feast was transferred in the parishes in the western United States, but it certainly was here in the Midwest.

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  3. Is it not the perogative of a ruling Bishop to due such things for a clear pastoral need? Who are we to criticize this directive with any real authority? We may not like it but he is the bishop and has done nothing to violate cardinal teachings of the Faith.

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    1. What was the clear pastoral need?

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    2. The pastoral need is one cannot serve an Evening Divine Liturgy on Sunday evening. Because people are at work or school and cannot attend, it is not possible to gather the faithful for a morning Divine Liturgy on a feast day during the week. As a result, we celebrate an Evening Divine Liturgy on the eve of the feast using the example set by the Typikon for the Divine Liturgy of Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday. . By having the main celebration of a feast at a time when the faithful can gather, we are able to celebrate the feast with the Divine Liturgy.

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  4. My understanding, as relayed to me, is that parishes were not to do the Paramon services on Sunday and Theophany on Monday, but rather to solely celebrate Theophany on Sunday.

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    1. I left my comment before I saw that the post had been updated. Whoops.

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  5. What you describe is how the services were handled at my Antiochian parish. I know my priest would not have made such a change without being directed. When our priest announced the change, on Sunday, the 29th, he specifically said the change had been ordered by Metropolitan PHILLIP. He added a personal comment, along the lines of, 'This change will have the effect of relieving you of a required day of fasting.'

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    1. I didn't know that a Sunday could be a day of Fasting because it is a little Pascha?

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    2. There are a number of feasts a year that are a strict fast no matter what day of the week they fall on, e.g. the Holy Cross, Beheading of St. John, the Eve of Theophany. Typically when they fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the fast is relaxed for wine and oil allowed for the day.

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  6. A bit late to this thread but I will chime in all the same. While highly irregular, shifting a major feast is not completely without precedent. Usually though there is some compelling reason. That aside I think Archimandrite Gregory is correct. This is within his purview. One can disagree with the prudence or wisdom of an action like this but as long as it's legal, then the responsibility is Philips's.

    In the grand scheme of things however, this is not that high up on the list of controversial actions the Metropolitan has undertaken, some of which I think were and remain, scandalous.

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    1. There is precedent for moving around the commemorations of saints... because there are often services for more than one saint on a given day, and you might want to do two of them, and so you move one to another day. But there is no precedent for moving a great feast... particularly a great feast of the Lord. There is certainly nothing in the Typikon that provides for it, and I doubt that there are any examples of it in Church history.

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  7. I'm not sure if it was "ordered" but our OCA Mission celebrated Theophany on Sunday. We did Liturgy then Vespers immediately following liturgy then the Great Blessing of the Waters at a lake in our city in the afternoon. We did celebrate Theophany liturgy on Monday morning at 6:00am.

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    1. I am not sure about the Greek Typikon, but this is basically what is called for when Theophany falls on a Sunday or a Monday. We will be doing pretty much the same thing this weekend (because Theophany falls on a Sunday on the Old Calendar this year. The only slight deviation your parish did was to do the outdoor blessing on the eve at Vespers. Normally the indoor blessing is done on the eve, and the out door blessing is done on the day... but the order of service is the same, except that for the latter blessing, you have a procession to where ever you are going to do the blessing. These are the rubrics we will be using on Saturday: http://www.saintjonah.org/rub/rub_january05_sat.htm

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  8. Here in Chicago, we celebrated on Sunday, as we should have, for the reasons Met. Philip gave.
    Monday, the whole city was more or less shut down, due to weather.

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  9. In fact, Theophqny, like great feasts, has a period of forefeast and afterfeast. The former to prepare oneself to the feast with daily reading about it, the latter, to continue the celebration of the feast. If you change the date of the feast, that means you are not prepared enough or you are too much prepared. It also raises the questions of which services reading or doing in the previous and following day since the menologion is entirely messed up with the new date. Changing dates can only make sense for christians whose practice is reduced to Sundays and great feasts that pop-up like this without preparation or afterfeast. For someone trying to follow the daily liturgical cycle, as we are invited to do even at home if the church is closed or too far, even with small reading, it makes no sense. Such practice of moving feasts is only an expression of decadence.

    It can be compared with the behaviour of uniat and Italian miners who preferred to take a day off to celebrate Saint Nicholas, the day when a terrible blast happened in the mine. They were saved in this way, sure not moving the feast to Sunday, in which case, they would have died.

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