Roman and Russian in Riga

For various reasons I have just returned from a week in Riga,Latvia and have two unconnected questions about the Church there. Riga is mainly a city with a Lutheran heritage but there is a Catholic minority of about 25%.Russian is the language of the largest group of the inhabitants
and there a a good number of Russian Orthodox churches.
In the Catholic church which I attended twice, on New Year's Day and Epiphany, I noticed that when hosts were put into the ciborium there was a central part of the ciborium into which wine was poured and then consecrated. For Communion which was given at the altar rail, directly on the tongue, but the Host was dipped into the Precious Blood before being offered to the communicant.I have never seen this before. A local priest here (Scotland) told me he had seen this a few times in Italy but that is was not promoted by the Church, although in a way it was a good hygienic measure. Has anyone else experience of this ?


In the beautiful Russian cathedral of the Nativity there were two things which intrigued me.

I thought that Orthodox/Byzantine churches had only one altar but this one seemed to have three separate altars,unless the two doors behind the iconostasis were simply very elaborate examples of the two normal side ,doors into the sanctuary.When we were there ,on the Thursday before Russian Orthodox Christmas there was a service at the side 'altar'.At one point most of the worshippers fell to their knees,but in the position which we associate with worshipping Muslims . Is this common in Orthodox churches ?

Comments

  • Forthview wrote: »
    I thought that Orthodox/Byzantine churches had only one altar but this one seemed to have three separate altars,unless the two doors behind the iconostasis were simply very elaborate examples of the two normal side ,doors into the sanctuary.When we were there ,on the Thursday before Russian Orthodox Christmas there was a service at the side 'altar'.At one point most of the worshippers fell to their knees, but in the position which we associate with worshipping Muslims . Is this common in Orthodox churches ?

    On weekdays more people are going to kneel and make kneeling prostration (our normal prostration except during Lent) during the Divine Liturgy -- right at the epiklesis -- than on Sunday. We kneel in our church at the epiklesis, even on Sunday. But not between Pascha and Pentecost -- the vespers service of Pentacost night (not eve) is called "kneeling vespers" because it's the first time we kneel at all after Pascha.

    I have heard of some Orthodox churches having multiple altars so they have multiple Liturgy services on the same day (the rule is one liturgy per altar per day). Sometimes even on the west wall! Gasp!
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited January 12
    Is (probably) Outrage!

    But, seriously, I was rather under the impression that Orthodox churches celebrate the Liturgy mostly on Sundays and Holydays, and then, as mousethief says, only once. I thought a daily Liturgy was unknown, unlike the RCC, where a daily Mass (or maybe more than one) used to be the norm.

    As for the peculiar RCC ciborium mentioned in the OP, that, too, is a new one on me, though it does seem a most practical (if complicated) piece of apparatus. It would be interesting to know if such a thing is employed in any Anglican or Lutheran church!
  • Is (probably) Outrage!
    As for the peculiar RCC ciborium mentioned in the OP, that, too, is a new one on me, though it does seem a most practical (if complicated) piece of apparatus. It would be interesting to know if such a thing is employed in any Anglican or Lutheran church!

    I've heard of at least one Lutheran pastor in the States that employs such a device, but only anecdotally; I've never seen it in the wild, since I live some distance away from him and have other commitments of a Sunday morning. =)

    One of my three (Lutheran) congregations administers the Sacrament by the pastor doing the intinction and placing it on the communicant's tongue, but we just have the server hold the (normally-shaped) ciborium while I hold the chalice.
  • Well, well - I suppose the Latvian RCC's use of the duplex (?) ciborium is a logical extension of that.

    Either way, if intinction is common practice, it does seem more hygienic for the priest/pastor to do the intincting.

    I'm sure we've had discussions on these boards in the past about the rights and wrongs of intinction in any form!
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited January 13
    KayAreCee wrote: »
    Is (probably) Outrage!
    As for the peculiar RCC ciborium mentioned in the OP, that, too, is a new one on me, though it does seem a most practical (if complicated) piece of apparatus. It would be interesting to know if such a thing is employed in any Anglican or Lutheran church!

    I've heard of at least one Lutheran pastor in the States that employs such a device, but only anecdotally; I've never seen it in the wild, since I live some distance away from him and have other commitments of a Sunday morning. =)
    Is something like this what @Forthview saw, and that others are talking about? I have seen something like it in Episcopal churches hereabouts. But I’m pretty sure I have also always seen the communicant use it to instinct, rather than the priest doing the intincting.

  • Well, never having seen such an Engine, I couldn't say - but that's rather how I pictured it.
  • Indeed,it was something like the pictures which N.T.shows, particularly the one on the right. I only attended Mass in this one church, so can't say whether its use is widespread in Latvia. There are three RC churches in Old Riga, a relatively small area and they are all within 100 metres of each other. Two of them had traditional communion rails and one of them, the cathedral, didn't. For the way that Communion was administered you really need the communion rail so that the priest can easily put the intincted Host into the communicant's mouth. On Epiphany day the church was crowded with every seat taken and the various aisles full of standing people. There were no 'extraordinary ministers' but rather three priests, each with a ciborium like the one I tried to describe. There must have been about 300 people at the Mass but it was difficult to say how many went to Communion, as there was no space really to see people moving, It was just a solid 'mass' but it didn't take too long for the distribution.

    I was glad to see on the church walls the chalked sign 20K+M+B19.I thought that this was just a custom in Austria and Germany and it was only about two years ago that I learned that it was a custom at Epiphany in Poland and now I see also in Latvia.
  • Should anyone,by chance,be interested in the church,it is St Mary Magdalene's in Riga.
    There is quite a bit of information about the church on Wikipedia and other sites ,although the most comprehensive is in the French version of Wikipedia
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    KayAreCee wrote: »
    Is (probably) Outrage!
    As for the peculiar RCC ciborium mentioned in the OP, that, too, is a new one on me, though it does seem a most practical (if complicated) piece of apparatus. It would be interesting to know if such a thing is employed in any Anglican or Lutheran church!

    I've heard of at least one Lutheran pastor in the States that employs such a device, but only anecdotally; I've never seen it in the wild, since I live some distance away from him and have other commitments of a Sunday morning. =)
    Is something like this what @Forthview saw, and that others are talking about? I have seen something like it in Episcopal churches hereabouts. But I’m pretty sure I have also always seen the communicant use it to instinct, rather than the priest doing the intincting.

    Is something like that approved for use in Latin Rite RC churches - or in any church under the Pope's jurisdiction? I know that intinction is approved (at least in certain circumstances) and that the Eastern Rite churches serve from a chalice with a spoon but this particular "dipping tray" seems like a novel invention that would need official approval. It also seems to me like it might fit better at a Super Bowl party as a vessel to serve nachos and guacamole than at Mass. Is there any long history to its use at the Eucharist?
  • Is something like that approved for use in Latin Rite RC churches - or in any church under the Pope's jurisdiction?
    That, I cannot say. But the store to which I linked is a Catholic store, and one with which I’m familiar. I’d be surprised if they’re selling things for use in Catholic liturgy that are not approved, or at least tacitly permitted.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Is something like this...
    Oh, I've seen items like the one on the left in Episcopal churches in the States. We always called them "chip-n-dips."


  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    KayAreCee wrote: »
    Is (probably) Outrage!
    As for the peculiar RCC ciborium mentioned in the OP, that, too, is a new one on me, though it does seem a most practical (if complicated) piece of apparatus. It would be interesting to know if such a thing is employed in any Anglican or Lutheran church!

    I've heard of at least one Lutheran pastor in the States that employs such a device, but only anecdotally; I've never seen it in the wild, since I live some distance away from him and have other commitments of a Sunday morning. =)
    Is something like this what @Forthview saw, and that others are talking about? I have seen something like it in Episcopal churches hereabouts.

    Such a "device" is, I believe, universal in Maronite churches (my personal experience is limited). From what I've seen, the priest intincts the host, which is placed on the tongue. I don't think that either receiving in one kind or in the hand is permitted, except perhaps in special cases for pastoral reasons.
    Is (probably) Outrage!

    But, seriously, I was rather under the impression that Orthodox churches celebrate the Liturgy mostly on Sundays and Holydays, and then, as mousethief says, only once. I thought a daily Liturgy was unknown, unlike the RCC, where a daily Mass (or maybe more than one) used to be the norm.

    Certainly not true in monasteries. I had heard that the reason non-monastic Orthodox priests don't offer the Divine Liturgy daily is to allow them to have sex with their wives from time to time, as this forbidden the night before celebrating.

    Incidentally, and in the name of shameless self-promotion, I once MW'd a daily liturgy in an Eastern-Rite Catholic Church. It was much more elaborate than any daily mass I've seen in a Latin-rite church, although simpler than any Orthodox service I've ever attended.
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Is something like this...
    Oh, I've seen items like the one on the left in Episcopal churches in the States. We always called them "chip-n-dips."
    Ha!

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Did you ever find out what purpose the bread took?
  • CyprianCyprian Shipmate
    edited January 14
    Forthview wrote: »
    In the beautiful Russian cathedral of the Nativity there were two things which intrigued me.

    I thought that Orthodox/Byzantine churches had only one altar but this one seemed to have three separate altars,unless the two doors behind the iconostasis were simply very elaborate examples of the two normal side ,doors into the sanctuary.

    In colder climates, it's quite common for there to be a "lower church" on a basement level, beneath the main church. I would call it a chapel but they tend to be almost as large as the main church. In the winter it's easier to keep warm down there. The custom then tends to spread into the diaspora, even in warmer climates where the original purpose might not exist. For instance, the ROCOR cathedral in London has one.

    Other churches have what you describe, which are essentially side chapels.

    Also, in churches that serve communities that are too large for everybody to attend the same Liturgy, or where the parish is essentially two congregations split along linguistic or cutural lines, it isn't unknown for there to be advertised something like "Slavonic Liturgy at 9.00, English Liturgy at 11.00". As Mousethief says, as long as the second Liturgy isn't served on the same Holy Table or by the same priest as the first, it satisfies the letter of the law. Another piece of casuistry that I have seen in photographs in churches without a second altar is the use of a separate mensa that either sits over or attaches like a shelf to the front of the Holy Table, so that a second Liturgy can be served.

    It seems extremely legalistic to me, and I think that if the principle of "One people; one Eucharist" is going to be departed from for legitimate pastoral reasons, bishops ought to be able to tell parishes just to go ahead and do it without finding ways to pretend that the spirit of the canons is being followed.
    When we were there ,on the Thursday before Russian Orthodox Christmas there was a service at the side 'altar'.At one point most of the worshippers fell to their knees,but in the position which we associate with worshipping Muslims . Is this common in Orthodox churches ?

    Yes. That's how Orthodox Christians make a prostration. There are different customs about when they are done, but the method is the same.
  • Any chance it was antidoron? Perhaps not, if something similar was seen in a Latin rite parish.
  • I suppose that I have mainly attended Orthodox services on Holy Days where maybe due to the number present there isn't the same opportunity to do the prostrations.I've often seen people touching the ground before making the sign of the cross and I've often seen people kneeling on the ground but not the prostrations.
    I don't think that the service I witnessed was a eucharistic liturgy as the priest was chanting, supported by a choir of nuns, out of a big book. At the time of the prostrations this was at the end of the service when he went to what looked like a half open coffin and prayed beside it. then he blessed the people with the big book and disappeared behind the iconostasis.

    (The 'half open coffin' which I mentioned had nothing to do with a funeral. It was, I think, a permanent feature in the cathedral. There are several items on you tube showing the cathedral of the Nativity in Riga but all of them ,apart from one, only show the outside of the cathedral. During Soviet times the cathedral was turned into a planetarium and a restaurant,but since independence of Latvia it has been handed back to the religious community. There is a very short clip of a wedding in the cathedral and one can see on the far side the 'half open coffin' which I mentioned.
  • CyprianCyprian Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »
    I suppose that I have mainly attended Orthodox services on Holy Days where maybe due to the number present there isn't the same opportunity to do the prostrations.I've often seen people touching the ground before making the sign of the cross and I've often seen people kneeling on the ground but not the prostrations.

    There are a number of ancient canons of some of the Councils that prohibit kneeling for prayer on Sundays, for it is seen as a penitential action and not fitting for the day of Resurrection. Many places extend this to feasts. So if you've visited at those times you will likely not have seen prostrations done. Also, because many people only experience services on Sundays, they simply don't know about prostrations, so they might not do them even when it's customary to do so.

    However, there is a difference of opinion about whether making a prostration (a momentary action of awe and reverence) and kneeling down to pray (remaining in the kneeling or prostrate position for prayers) are the same thing. Certainly, before the 17th-century reforms of the Russian services, the prostrations were not seen as being the same as kneeling, and they were prescribed even at some of the Resurrection hymns throughout the paschal season, and I know have certainly seen the customary prostration at the epiklesis made in Russian and Serbian parishes during the Sunday Liturgy. It seems that there has long been variation of practice on this point, and that's ok, I think.
    I don't think that the service I witnessed was a eucharistic liturgy as the priest was chanting, supported by a choir of nuns, out of a big book. At the time of the prostrations this was at the end of the service when he went to what looked like a half open coffin and prayed beside it. then he blessed the people with the big book and disappeared behind the iconostasis.

    I wonder whether it was a Moleben. That's a service of prayer and suplication, either for some specific purpose or to honour a particular saint. In the latter case, it is usually served before an icon and/or relics of the saint in question. Could the half-open coffin have been a reliquary? There are certainly times during the Moleben to a saint when one would make a prostration, and there is often at least one prayer near the end of the service where people often kneel for the duration of the prayer.
    There is a very short clip of a wedding in the cathedral and one can see on the far side the 'half open coffin' which I mentioned.

    If you post a link to the relevant part of the video, one of us might be able to confirm for you whether it is a reliquary.
  • Cyprian - thanks for your information. The service would indeed have been a Molebem.

    It was led by a priest wearing the Byzantine equivalent of the chasuble and it was when he moved towards the 'half open coffin' that the devout started their prostrations. This would undoubtedly have been a reliquary. The date in the Gregorian calendar was 3rd January which would have been in the Russian ecclesiastical calendar,21st December.

    You know, I'm so glad I learned there how to insert one of the Orthodox votive candles of unbleached wax into the holder. A nice old woman showed me and then I saw other people doing it both there and elsewhere.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Is something like that approved for use in Latin Rite RC churches - or in any church under the Pope's jurisdiction?
    That, I cannot say. But the store to which I linked is a Catholic store, and one with which I’m familiar. I’d be surprised if they’re selling things for use in Catholic liturgy that are not approved, or at least tacitly permitted.
    Catholic Church supply catalogs are full of sacred vessels, vestments, church decorations, and other things that violate rubrics. They sell them because churches buy them, and enforcement of rubrics is often lax. Church music companies sell music with lyrics that violate rubrics, too, and there is at least one big convention of attended by people who make purchases for church parishes, schools, etc, from all over the US that has companies selling all kinds of music, liturgical material, educational material, etc, that violates rubrics, and also has a big Mass with all kinds of rubric violations that promotes all kinds of not-allowed practices that make use of the products sold. This is a huge market with many ideological and cultural divisions - and lots of breaking of the rules - and companies market accordingly.

    Not that I necessarily disapprove of all that!

    Maybe this particular vessel in question is traditional in Maronite Churches. But is it allowed in Latin Rite Liturgies?
  • Re the ciborium mentioned in the OP, a friend who was a retired Lutheran military chaplain had a chalice with a removable insert that fit on the inside of the rim to hold the wafers. It was the first and only one that I have ever seen. He told me it was part of his military gear.
  • Stonespring is spot on with what he writes both here and elsewhere. On another thread he suggested that many Catholics are, either through lack of proper catechising or lack of acceptance of the catechising, really what some people might call 'heretics' He is more or less suggesting the same thing here commenting on the fact that many priests and/or parish communities do not pay 100% attention to rubrics. All this is undoubtedly true but it is leaving out the important ideas of the apostolic virtues of Faith,Hope and Charity.
    At the end of the day we need Faith which transforms the dry legalism of dogma and strict attention to rubrics which may not always be properly understood.We need Faith to see that the Church is indeed the Bride of Christ,the Mystical body of Christ and the People of God on their way towards the perfection of the Kingdom of God.We need Hope to believe that this can one day be accomplished and to spur us on towards that perfection a








  • Sorry about above unfinished post. After starting to write it I decided it was better to be posted in Purgatory and thought that the Ecclesiantics post should be abandoned. Much later on I discovered that it was still on my screen and then was actually posted.Please ignore it.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    And I thought you'd been interrupted by the Second Coming
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