19 March 2007

There are days...

...when I think that Matins prayed publicly in the Church, followed by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist is THE way that every day should begin. A blessed Day of St. Joseph to everyone!

12 comments:

christopher3rd said...

Is it normal practice to serve Matins before Liturgy in traditional Western or Lutheran practice, is this your preferred practice, or were just saying that *every* day should begin with these services?

Matins was unheard of by me when growing up WELS - except for references in Eco's "The Name of the Rose" - and the Russian parish tradition usually doesn't serve Matins unless it is part of the All-Night Vigil or when liturgical time is 'anticipated' leading up to Pascha, Christmas and Theophany when Matins gets served the evening before (e.g., Bridegroom Matins).

William Weedon said...

Christopher,

It was, of course, normal practice to serve daily Matins and Vespers, and with them the daily Mass. This Western heritage greatly influenced Lutheran practice in the 16th and 17th centuries. In those days, if the parish was of any size (especially if it had a school), Matins and Vespers would still be served daily. Additionally, the Eucharist would be offered on Sundays and frequently at other times during the week. In Magdeburg, for example, Eucharist was served each Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

In my own history, I remember the parish where I became a Lutheran offered both Matins and the Divine Service on each Sunday, but alternated which was served when. So some Sundays it was Matins first service and Eucharist second. Some it was Eucharist at early and Matins at late. Consequently, it still doesn't seem weird to me to sing Matins at 11:00 - I remember doing so many a Sunday!

Now, almost NO ONE attended both services, except for some real odd balls who will remain nameless... But I do remember the beauty of the music for Matins when I first encountered it (from TLH) - it struck me as something totally different than I'd ever heard anywhere else. I fell in love with it right away - especially the Te Deum with the key change right in the middle: "When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man..."

Here at St. Paul's, Matins as a widely attended service occurs but three times a year: Thanksgiving Day, Circumicision, and Easter. However, the school children do sing Matins each Wednesday now - so the next generation is also learning to love and value it.

P.S. Found your Guinness piece enjoyable - what a heritage!

christopher3rd said...

Heritage... you don't know the half of it. I think my draw to acting probably resulted from the fact that I had such a schizophrenic life growing up the good little WELS church boy in MN and WI when the other half of my family loomed large in mind with pubs, poverty, cursing, violence, corruption, drugs, violence, soccer, politics and a lot of cigarettes and ale. There's a story about an axe and a bat that disabuses people of the illusion that I am a naive Midwestern church boy.

So, Matins was often used as a way to serve without offering the Eucharist, which would have been offered daily in most churches prior to the Reformation, right? This does seem to be more appropriate than serving a Liturgy but cutting out the Communion part so as not to seem 'too Catholic'.

The Typikon of St. Sabbas (i.e., the Byzantine Rite) calls for the service of Typika in place of the Liturgy, or in the absence of a priest or bishop to serve. It is a "Reader's Service", but is often served in monasteries with priests in preparation for the Liturgy or even in place of it since daily communion is not the norm in most Orthodox monasteries. A set number of Jesus Prayers can also 'replace' the Liturgy. This is commmon for hermits, skete-dwellers and recluses as well as at places such as the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, UK which did this in its early days due to its monks and nuns speaking different languages and a lack of service books in Western languages.

William Weedon said...

Actually, I wouldn't put it so: it is not that Matins replaced anything. It was that the pre-Reformation practice of Matins and Vespers tended to carry on after the Reformation, whereas the daily Mass in most place was dropped in favor of a single parochial mass on Sunday (almost everywhere) and often with a couple midweek celebrations offered as well. Curiously, though, at least twice the Large Catechism refers to the Eucharist as offered daily.

Another oddity which perhaps accounts for the ultimate demise of the offices is that they were generally still recited in Latin in most places where they were observed.

christopher3rd said...

Sorry, I was meaning 'replace' in relation to the alternating between Matins and Eucharist in the parish of your youth, as well as 'replace' going from daily Masses under Rome to a single parochial Mass on Sunday with Matins and Vespers during the week.

The latter is very much in line with Orthodox practice in Orthodox countries and in larger parishes here: Sunday and greater Feast Liturgies and some number of daily services during the week. In my PA Greek parish, holycrosspoconos.org (I'm the webmaster thanks to iWeb), the priest usually serves at least once every day; in NYC, the Cathedral has Vespers on Wed and Fri nights and Vigil on Saturday night, in addition to Sunday Liturgy with the Hours and Prayers Before/After Communion.

saxoniae said...

Now, almost NO ONE attended both services, except for some real odd balls who will remain nameless...

Cool! I've been doing that. We were alternating Matins (LW but the TLH Te Deum) with DS Communion during Advent. Now we're back to DS w/OUT Communion instead of Matins. Sad.

christopher3rd said...

When I was becoming Orthodox, my nominally Catholic wife told me "you know, you don't have to go to church every day". The priest-monk who is now my spiritual father thought that was hilarious, which it was.

William Weedon said...

Ah, what all resides in a "have to" and how utterly incapable that is of giving expression to the reality of the "get to"!

William Weedon said...

As in...

"I was GLAD when they said to me, Let us go up to the house of the Lord!"

The Terrible Swede said...

I wish we could have the Holy Supper every day. I'd be there in a heart beat with Mrs. Swede at my side.

The Terrible Swede said...

So, I was told by a Lutheran Kung Fu Disciple, that a daily communion was not what the ancient church practiced? Is this true, Kung Fu master Weedon?

Is not The Lord's Prayer, the "Our Father", the best argument for a daily Eucharist?

Again, if it was offered daily, MrsSwede and I would be there.

BTW, any questions, I field to you or other clergy, I always ask Kung Fu Master Brockman.

William Weedon said...

Ron,

No, it was not universal practice to offer the sacrament daily. But it was universal practice, I think it is safe to say, that it was more than once a week. It was, as I understand it, more of a Roman/Western thing that it came to be offered daily. To this day, Rome offers the Eucharist daily; and the East tends not to (also in Western rite parishes, I understand).

In Lutheran Magdeburg it was offered on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Cathedral, but Matins and Vespers were daily.