The Ideal Orthros: What does it look like?

Trisagion School Forums Typikon 101 (Term 3: Fall 2021) The Ideal Orthros: What does it look like?

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    • #29277
      Peter George

      Many of us chanters today are asked to do Orthros under a number of restraints. For example, some of us only have an hour to do the service (or less). Some of us can only use a particular translation or language. If you could chant Orthros however you wanted, what would you include that isn’t normally done? How long do you think Orthros should take? What might you do to include more people, especially if you are a solo chanter? Share your thoughts below!

    • #29287

      In my opinion, Orthros should take about an hour and a half.

      Perhaps each Sunday we would rotate one of the appointed kathismata of the Psalter to read. Reading Psalms in church is such a neat way to “ground” ourselves. It becomes so much more apparent where a lot of the text of our hymns come from. Reading all of the appropriate kathismata every Sunday, I believe, would be too drastic a change from our current practise (at least right away). It would also be a great way to involve more volunteers as readers who do not necessarily chant.

      At one point, at our parish when we were still learning how to sing antiphonally, we used to repeat the Orthros antiphons. To me, this lends such a feeling of symmetry and emphasis. (I get this feeling when stichera from the menaion are repeated too– especially in the same language.)

      If time permits (because I do believe keeping a regular service within *some* time limit), reading the canon would be another way to involve readers.

      Chanting stichologia is another feature I’d include to emphasise Scripture.

    • #29306
      Marissa Hondros

      In my opinion, Orthros should definitely be an hour and a half, or at least more than 1hr 15min. It tends to feel rushed a lot of the time because when the bulletin says “liturgy” at 10 most of the laity do not want to arrive just to find that liturgy has not started yet, which some will complain about.
      I feel, if chanters are actually given the time, to do the canons as lined up in the “full orthros” sheet in the orthros excel: Ode 1,Ode 3, Mid Ode Kathisma #1, Glory… [Both Now…] Mid Ode Kathisma #2, Both Now.. Mid Ode Kathisma #3 (if it exists), Ode 4, Ode 5, Ode 6.
      Everything after ode 6 can be spoken until the katavasia, since it is mentioned in lesson 7 that odes 7 and 8 are hardly done, and if they are, they are spoken, and since the kontakion, oikos, and synaxarion are already spoken, that makes more sense, in my book.

    • #29816

      My current parish does not do Orthros, and my only experience with it was in the Antiochian parish I attended back when I converted to Orthodoxy. I never really engaged with it enough to know what was going on, but I loved showing up to church early and hearing the story of the resurrection being chanted by people I loved. This might be a weird analogy, but it was like coming home for dinner — entering a house and smelling the nourishing smells that someone is preparing for you.

      As I became more established in that parish, I began to sing and chant more at the services, and I planted a vegetable garden on the church grounds (bear with me; this is circling back around to Orthros!). I even imagined asking my priest if I could move into an apartment above the church’s garage so that I could give more of my time in service to the worship of the church and its ministry in the neighborhood. In the end, our priest moved away and the church underwent a big (and painful) change. I met and married my husband and moved to Ohio, and we now have two little children that limit the time I can give to the services of the church.

      ALL of this is to say that in finally learning about the beautiful order of Orthos, my enthusiastic spirit wants to say, “yes! let’s do the whole 2.5 hours!” (haha. Maybe I have a monastic’s heart.) The people who could give that time would be preparing the meal, so to speak, for those who couldn’t. And if most of the parish just showed up for the Liturgy, it would be okay, because God would be glorified by the prayers of Orthros anyway.

      But then I realize that I am in a stage of life (and will be for some time) where I couldn’t give 2.5 hours on top of the Liturgy every Sunday, so I know that balance is the answer. I like Konstantina’s idea of rotating in some of the Psalter and including a portion of the canon as a compromise. And involving non-chanters to read would both keep the pace up and promote “buy in” to the service.

      On another note, I was very interested to discover that the reading of the six psalms should be read by only one reader and that the entire church should be completely still and solemn. I would like to talk with my priest about what it might look like to encourage our parish in this direction (we rotate between two readers and there is definitely all the movement of people arriving, lighting candles, etc. And yet again, I wonder how this is possible with little children. I know mine wouldn’t assume a solemn stillness. 🙂

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