Vespers ?

I saw this post…

I have gone to a lot of vespers services Sat evening and I never ever thought I fulfilled my ‘obligation’ to attend Divine Liturgy. That is a foreign concept to me. Vespers was always a preparation for the Divine Liturgy the next morning.

What is the correct way of looking at this?
I would not want to suggest to an RC that their ‘obligation to fulfill Sunday Mass’ has been met. There is no Eucharist at Vespers.

Vespers is evening prayer.

It’s the mass and the mass itself that we are obligated to attend and participate in…which is a sacrifice and not just prayertime.

Maybe something got confused with the idea that if you attend mass on Saturday evening, that it would could as your sunday obligation because it is considered the beginning of sunday.

See this post here that explains it:

Also, it is possible to combine an hour with the mass, so there might be some confusion there, too?

This is a Latin concept that there is any canonical obligation to go to liturgy at all; the deprivation from participation is bad enough and you should desire to go. As a loose-fitting response, the Byzantine Churches say vespers satisfies this Latin notion of obligation by vespers. I don’t recall if it’s either the ECC or what have you but there’s something always quoted about being required to participate in public worship.

Anyway, it is a mostly American Latin idea that one must receive the Eucharist for their obligation to be fulfilled anyway and I wish some in the Latin Church in the US would restore that practice of not receiving all the time. In relation to the obligation pertaining to the Eastern Churches, this is just another failure of ecclesiology where Latins think their disciplines apply to us.

For byzantines, it was put in place so that those who had no ability to be at liturgy on sunday (usually due to work) have means of fulfilling the obligation.

For the Ruthenians, the common use of the vigil DL makes it mook in most Ruthenian Metropolia parishes.

It’s not an “either/or” - it’s a “If you can’t do DL due to work or family, do Vespers.”

The reasoning also has to do with the rights of the faithful to worship according to their own rite. No catholic is ever required to go to a Roman parish when there’s a parish of their own rite - Typica in their own rite fills the obligation.

Remember: The obligation is for divine worship, not for the Eucharistic celebration. Typica (which is essentially expanded from the hours) or the Roman Liturgy of the Word service (Which is essentially abridged from the Mass, dropping the anaphora entirely) is a communal act of Divine Worship.

Here are the canons on this:

For Eastern Catholics**
CCEO Canon 881**

  1. The Christian faithful are bound by the obligation to participate on Sundays and feast days in the Divine Liturgy, or according to the prescriptions or legitimate customs of their own Church sui iuris, in the celebration of the divine praises.
  2. In order for the Christian faithful to fulfill this obligation more easily, the available time runs from the evening of the vigil until the end of the Sunday or feast day.
  3. The Christian faithful are strongly recommended to receive the Divine Eucharist on these days and indeed more frequently, even daily.
  4. The Christian faithful should abstain from those labors or business matters which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s day, or to the proper relaxation of mind and body.

For Latin Catholics**
CIC 1248.1**
The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a catholic rite either on a holyday itself or on the evening of the previous day.
CIC 898
The Christian faithful are to hold the Most Holy Eucharist in highest honor, taking an active part in the celebration of the most august sacrifice, receiving this sacrament most devoutly and frequently, and worshiping it with the highest adoration. In explaining the doctrine about this sacrament, pastors of souls are to teach the faithful diligently about this obligation.
CIC 1247
On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

The Byzantine parish I attend combines both on Saturday night…

Is this widespread? It is not common in our parish, nor the one closest to use. We generally only have vespers combined with a Divine Liturgy when it is called for (Christmas Eve, for example). We had Great Vespers last night, and Divine Liturgy this morning. We used to sometimes have a Saturday evening Divine Liturgy, but only when we had no regular priest and the priest from a neighboring parish (2 hours away) drove up to serve us. Being in California, where Ruthenian parishes are few and far between, my experience is fairly limited, but I was not aware that this was common.

babochka, in our Byzantine parish we have only had these vespers the last few years:

*] Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts (Passaic Book)

*] Annunciation Vigil Divine Liturgy St. John Chrysostom (Green Book)

*] Divine Liturgy with Vespers for Holy and Great Thursday (Holy Week Booklet)

*] Solemn Vespers for Holy and Great Friday (The Entombment Vespers) (Holy Week Booklet)

The parish used to have other Vespers but there was not enough attendance.

4 of the 5 parishes I’ve been to… One in Florida didn’t have a saturday vigil DL, but the priest had multiple parishes.

The Antiochan Syriac Maronite Tradition specifies the following for the “tekse” (Offices) and the “qurbono” (The Sacrifice), according to the “ktobo dhudoyo” (The Book of Direction):

-God has prescribed on the Christians three moments of prayer, the morning (safro - raising of the sun), the evening (ramsho - setting of the sun), and compline (sutoro - two hours after the evening prayer - before sleeping.)
-On Sundays the “qurbono” must be offered after the “Office of the Third Hour”, and after the “Office of the Sixth Hour”. The offering of the Sacrifice at these times is both obligatory and necessary.
-Also, in the same way, on Fridays the “qurbono” must be offered [after the “Office of the Third Hour”], after the “Office of the Sixth Hour”, and after the “Office of the Ninth Hour”.
-Also, in the same way, on Wednesdays the “qurbono” must be offered after the “Office of the Sixth Hour”, and after the “Office of the Ninth Hour”.
-The night prayer (lilyo - the middle of the night) is an obligation on all the monks, the bishops, the archbishops, the hermits, and all who wear religious habits and have received holy orders. All others, including married priests, can attend if they can.
-The following private Offices are not an obligation on the faithful, but only on the monks: the daily Office of the Third Hour, the daily Office of the Sixth Hour, the daily Office of the Ninth Hour. With the exception of the rules mentioned earlier, with regards to all the faithful.
-The “qurbono” is to be offered on all feast days, on all the commemorations of the Saints and the anniversaries of the Fathers and of the superiors and for the souls of the faithful departed.
-It’s permissible to offer the “qurbono” daily, if the occasion arises.
-If after communion, there remains of the “Body”, then the faithful can come up to communion again, up to three times. If there remains afterwards, then the priest will carry it to the Holy of Holies. It will need to be fully consumed the next day, during the offering of the “qurbono”.
-As for the “Pure Blood”, it must be fully consumed, and not preserved.
-Each faithful Christian must request an offering of the “qurbono” for their soul.
-The Christians owe God seven prayers daily: the evening prayer, the prayer when going to sleep, the prayer of the middle of the night, the morning prayer, the third hour prayer, the sixth hour prayer, and the ninth hour prayer.
-Because the lay faithful can’t fully observe all the owed hours all the times, the Church has offered a dispensation with the exception of the evening, compline, and morning prayers. The faithful should engage in all the times of prayer, when possible, for the good of their soul. Also, at all the seven times of prayer, whether they are saying the offices or not, they must remember God in praise.

I just did a quick survey of the parishes of the Eparchy of Phoenix, based on information available on the parish websites and the Eparchy websites.

2 parishes offer a Saturday evening Divine Liturgy
3 parishes offer Vespers and Divine Liturgy on Saturday evening
4 parishes offer Vespers of Saturday evening
The remaining parishes did not list any Saturday evening services.
Several of the parishes that don’t have a Saturday evening liturgy did list a vigil liturgy for Holy Days.

These are interesting prescriptions. From where are they taken exactly?

I’m not quite sure I understand what you mean by the qurbono being offered after both the 3rd and 6th hour. If chronologically, yes, but to my understanding of historical liturgical texts the 6th hour serves as our equivalent of the “liturgy of the word,” which is obviously then followed by the anaphora.

I’m also curious to ask, also, from what year these prescriptions were written? Undoubtedly after the synod of 1736, as one would assume from the twice-offering of qurbono a day (and seemingly a third time on Fridays).

Only one of the 5 I’ve been to is in the Eparchy of Phoenix - my home parish. Ironic, isn’t it?

There is a move toward more traditional praxis in the Ruthenian church. And the import priests, like the wonderful Rev. Fr. Михайло Сідун, are likely to restore some. But they also come from a place where religion was openly under assault, and in some ways, seem more in tune with the need to make practical the attending of liturgies on holy days.

Vespers can fulfill one’s “obligation” if they are unable to attend the Divine Liturgy.

If able, one should desire to be a part of the Divine Liturgy rather than see it as a forced “obligation”.

I have also attended many vespers (often at a different parish, due to my own parish not offering vespers) as well as the Divine liturgy the following morning and not felt I had merely fulfilled my obligation by vespers the previous evening.

I’ve been to vespers recently at the monastary near me. While I enjoyed it in no way did I feel it could have possibly fufilled my Sunday Obligation. They did Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament but dispensed no Holy Communion.

If you’re a Latin Catholic then it would not fulfill your Sunday obligation, you’re quite right.

They did Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament but dispensed no Holy Communion.

Vespers is evening prayer and the only time Communion would be distributed in such a service is the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts during Great Lent.

Of course Sunday Obligation for Latin Catholics refers to assisting in the Holy Mass, it does not require receiving Holy Communion.

What kind of “Benediction” was involved?

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Following the Gregorian Chant for this particular Sunday’s Vespers one of the servers incensed the people then the priests incensed the altar in the traditional manner. Then a montrance was brought out and the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for about 5 minutes. The English equivelent of “O Salutaris Hostia” was chanted.

Sorry, I misunderstood your post. I thought you meant you’d been at Vespers at an Eastern Catholic monastery. :slight_smile:

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