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Would you like a Frappucino with your antidoron?

This moment of cognitive dissonance brought to you by the Church of Greece and Starbucks, Inc…

This just strikes me as an awkward name for a restaurant in a traditionally Orthodox country, unless they’re serving vegan fare.

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8 Responses to “Would you like a Frappucino with your <i>antidoron</i>?”


  1. 1 rwp 23 June 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I’m not sure whether that’s frightening or entertaining.

  2. 2 Daniel 23 June 2009 at 11:58 pm

    A questions: from what you have said many only come to the Church for the necessary events such as Baptisms & Weddings. So overall do the laity follow the fasting guidelines from what you have noticed/heard? (Concerning the remark about the TGIF.)

    Plus, I know you love the fact that overall the laity is quiet during the Liturgy but good luck with that in America, I think Orthodoxy has its own flavor in each nation/area (from what I have been told/read) and I think in America congregational singing will remain quite the norm for many. Even the OCA parish I attend in PA (while almost entirely 80-90 year olds from Russia) sing just about every last part of the service with the choir. Maybe I am wrong but I would hate it any other way. Just my two cents as a convert who, of course, comes from a background of congregational singing…so I am a little biased. Are there actual canons which tell the laity to be quiet so much of the time or is it simply a smaller tradition which took hold over time? Does the amount of congregational singing vary from nation to nation, from what you know/ have experienced? May I also say that you noticed their quiet approach is very much a part of their deep piety; could the same not be said for our large amount of congregational singing…it comes from our piety.

    Also, you mentioned in Greece the youth are not much to be found in the Church, just the elderly…perhaps this could be tied to the fact of such a low congregational participation…not that I would say that is grounds for changing things. That could create a whole new set of problems. The last thing we need is seeker friendly Orthodox Churches in the new wave Evangelical sense.

    Thanks for reading my pitiful opinions/ideas. 🙂

    Oh lastly, I think the Church/Starbucks combo pic is a riot as long as they don’t start drinking the Starbucks during the Liturgy. Been there, done that back in the Charismatic days! lol

    • 3 Richard Barrett 24 June 2009 at 4:11 pm

      The simple answer to your question about fasting is that I haven’t asked anybody. 🙂 I can only speak for the house in which I’m living, and here the answer is no. On the other hand, my host isn’t a regular attendee or communicant, either.

      “Many” is a tough word to use when it comes to drawing lines around who’s doing what and what it says about their faith. My chant teacher makes it to Liturgy somewhere around the Epistle, I think. (Another thing to note — Sunday morning services start earlier here, too. They start Orthros at, I think, quarter to seven at St. Irene; Liturgy gets going around 8:30.) As I said, at St. Irene, the median age was lower and there was a higher percentage of communicants. I don’t know if the communicants were observing the fast or not; I know that Anna Pougas told me that she didn’t even know there was such a things as the Apostle’s Fast until she started attending All Saints. On the bus there are a lot of people who make the Sign of the Cross when we pass a church, but I couldn’t tell you anything else about what they observe or don’t observe.

      There are in fact is a canon governing congregational singing; you want the Council of Laodicea, acts found here: http://reluctant-messenger.com/council-of-laodicea.htm Canon 15: “No others shall sing in the Church, save only the canonical singers, who go up into the ambo and sing from a book.”

      You’re right that this kind of piety is a tough sell in the States. The trouble is equating “participation” with “everybody sings everything” (or virtually everything). As I said, “I would be hard-pressed to describe the members of the congregation as not participating — it is only that participation means something else than what we often mean as Westerners.” You turning around and saying that the trouble with the young is that “the people aren’t participating”, when I’ve just said that the people are in fact participating, demonstrates the divide very clearly.

      Let me try to explain it this way. Seen in action in a parish that has a highly “say the black, do the red” approach, it is clear that the clergy, the two choirs, and the congregation have separate functions; now, while there is a hierarchy of functions, we cannot say that anybody is ever not participating, or ever not participating “fully” and “actively” (thank you, Vatican II, for muddying the waters for decades to come). You are either a part of the Liturgy or you are not, and we cannot say that somebody is participating “more fully” than somebody else, any more than we can say that somebody is “more equal” than somebody else. These are terms which cannot be modified. Think of childbirth; one cannot say that a father does not participate in the birth of the a child because he doesn’t help carry the baby in his stomach during the course of nine months, and neither can we say that he is somehow superfluous as a result. In fact, if the father tries to perform the mother’s function rather than his own, it is more likely that the child will simply not even be conceived!

      Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying “congregational singing is bad”. What I’m saying is that we have an assumption in America that “everybody sings everything or they’re not participating” (among some other assumptions, perhaps) and that simply is not borne out by what the practice actually is in historically Orthodox countries. In other words, it seems to me that we would do well to find out what we can learn from the received tradition in these countries rather than just saying, “Oh well, that’s not the way Americans do things.” The problem with that kind of statement being, is the idea to make Orthodoxy American, or to make America Orthodox? Given how culturally Protestant America is, I think we’d do well to shoot for the latter.

    • 4 Richard Barrett 24 June 2009 at 4:18 pm

      And before I forget, I don’t think what we’re talking about has any impact one way or the other on the young being largely missing from the churches I’ve seen. There are a missing couple of generations in general, and this is happening all over Europe. The problem here in Greece, I think, has to do with a lot of cultural and historical reasons — I think part of the problem is that you have one generation tired of being history’s losers all of the time (something I heard a Greek person say today), and the subsequent generation inheriting that in the form of a deep cynicism about their cultural identity. Alas, the Church goes hand in hand with that cultural identity, for better or for worse.

  3. 5 Daniel 24 June 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you for all the information. I appreciate you taking the time. Concerning Canon 15, was anything different when this was written in the Liturgy. In other words were more parts spoken so the laity was still ‘participating vocally to a fair degree or was it as today, so essentially they remained silent. I know many churches sing the Lord’s Prayer & Creed so that would exclude the laity from even these parts if this Canon was applied in such a way in those parishes.

    Forgive me for way I wrote the ‘people aren’t participating’ I did mean solely ‘in song’ as I have no doubt their participation is great in what that means to them. But for me naturally I would feel like a spectator and not a worshipper if I never sang along. This is very likely wrongly placed and an outcome of years in Protestantism but there nonetheless.

    One last question: I always thought the Liturgy does in Greece was in a Greek the people knew. But lately I was told that it is ancient Greek and so many have no idea what is being said outside of the most basic parts of the service. Is this true? And if so would you agree this is an area for change (not that such a change is up to you or I)? If Matins and the special hymns are to be our ‘Sunday School’ as Father Peter Jon says it seems you would never learn much in such a setting.

    -Daniel

    I am really enjoying reading the blog entries and seeing the pics..keep it up! 🙂

    • 6 Richard Barrett 24 June 2009 at 11:22 pm

      The Greek is ancient Greek, more or less. The thing of it is, Greeks learn ancient Greek in school; linguistic pride is state subsidized, as it were. They more-or-less know what is being said. There’s a rather huge issue with switching to modern Greek, in that all of the hymnody would have to be rewritten and then re-set to new music, because Byzantine music is very, very, very tightly composed around the text. It would take years, if not decades, to make that switch. I am not sure I agree that it is either a desirable or necessary change; language is always changing, and to have to hit the reset button on all of your liturgical texts every two hundred years or so when there are thousands of pages of said liturgical texts is not realistic.

      What I have seen, in general, is that people follow along silently and prayerfully. I’ve seen people (and priests) shush each other, something that one would never see in an American parish, and which also suggests that individual members of the congregation presuming that they can sing along seems to rather scandalize the majority. Like I said, the mindset is that it’s a difference of function, not of quality or participation.

      Here’s the thing — Greeks are not quiet or subdued people, I promise you. Whatever they might “naturally” feel like doing in the Liturgy is clearly subordinated to what’s going on in the Liturgy.

      As far as Laodicea goes — you’re right, not all of the canons are strictly followed. None of them were ever repealed, however, at least so far as I know. Interpretation and application of canons is something that is, thankfully, not my role; all I can say is that there is in fact a canon that prescribes what the Greeks do here as normative behavior. Presumably it was adopted to preserve order and to keep things from getting out of hand.

  4. 7 Daniel 24 June 2009 at 8:23 pm

    I guess I could ask a simple question. In what part of the Sunday Divine Liturgy do the laity vocally take part in?

    -Daniel

  5. 8 Daniel 24 June 2009 at 8:42 pm

    One last things… I have been reading those Canons and obviously a few are not upheld anymore. I guess it is which ones must be? If we upheld them all, we would all be in big trouble. Very interesting to read.


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