Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why are Services so Long?

Q & A with Fr Job:
Question: Why are Church services so long? The meaning of the majority of prayers could be reduced to a simple formula: save, protect, have mercy, glory... And in the Gospel it is written: But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do (Mt 6:7). Subconsciously I understand the answer to this question, but an “exact” formulation requires a more serious answer.

Answer: Our Church’s Ecclesiastical Typikon was created in ancient monasteries (of Saints Savva the Sanctified and Theodore the Studite) for people who had dedicated their lives to the service of God. In parish church and the majority of monasteries it is abbreviated by several times (the All-Night Vigil being 2.5-3 hours, rather than 9-10 hours). We know from experience that this is within the strength of even older people. One’s spiritual makeup plays a great role here. If a person is attentive to the services, experiencing then prayerfully, then they won’t be at all burdensome.


Apophatically Speaking said...

I find the duration of services to be a form of spiritual discipline. There is a veritable ascetic element to it. Would you agree with that?

Felix Culpa said...

I would certainly agree with that; that would also explain why monastic services are generally much longer than parish services.