What is Vespers Like?


#1

I want to attend a Saturday Vespers. I was told it's a beautiful service(?) that would be nice for me to experience.

Is it like praying the Liturgy of the Hours?

Is there anything I need to know ahead of time?

Thanks.


#2

[quote="TrueLight, post:1, topic:240909"]
I want to attend a Saturday Vespers. I was told it's a beautiful service(?) that would be nice for me to experience.

Is it like praying the Liturgy of the Hours?

Is there anything I need to know ahead of time?

Thanks.

[/quote]

Yes, it is similar to praying the LoTH. V[FONT=Arial][size=2]espers is a service composed of Psalms, prayers and liturgical hymnody. It lasts roughly for a half hour. [/FONT][/size]


#3

Vespers is actually a part of the Liturgy of the Hours. It is more commonly known as "Evening Prayer" among Roman Catholics. Typically it is also more commonly celebrated publicly on Sunday nights, although Saturday nights instead of a "Vigil Mass" would be more traditional. Vespers in a Roman parish would indeed last about half an hour. If you want to check out something interesting see if you can find an Eastern Catholic or Eastern Orthodox parish that celebrates Saturday night Vespers. You'd be in for quite a treat. And, if you go to an Eastern Catholic parish for Saturday night Vespers it fulfills your Sunday obligation!:thumbsup:


#4

Most likely i will attend this tomorrow eve as well for the first time in a dominican church. I am excited and this is first ecounter with both the domincan friars in the diocese here as well as Vespers.


#5

Ooops! I didn't realize you were on the Eastern Catholics forum. :p Sorry about my previous post. Vespers is still the Eastern equivalent to the Roman "Evening Prayer," but that's as far as the similarities go. The structure, prayers, Psalms, and pretty much everything else is different. It can last anywhere from 1/2 hour to 1.5 hours, depending on whether the parish you attend celebrates the full service, or a somewhat abbreviated version. It is not uncommon for things to be trimmed down on the parish level for the sake of brevity and convenience. If you go to an Eastern Catholic or Orthodox monastery you will experience the full celebration of Vespers. Likewise, Matins/Orthros (= Morning Prayer) can also take anywhere from 1/2 hour to a good 2.5 hours depending on whether or not the parish/monastery celebrates the full service. I hope you enjoy Vespers. It is one of my favorite services outside of the Divine Liturgy. :thumbsup:


#6

Offer your Joy, as a sacrifice, to Almighty God.

peace


#7

[quote="TrueLight, post:1, topic:240909"]
I want to attend a Saturday Vespers. I was told it's a beautiful service(?) that would be nice for me to experience.

Is it like praying the Liturgy of the Hours?

Is there anything I need to know ahead of time?

Thanks.

[/quote]

Not "like", but "is".

Vespers is the evening hour. The term is also used in a latin context for evening prayer.

Latin hours
_•_Matins (during the night, at midnight with some), sometimes referred to as Vigils or Nocturns, or in monastic usage the Night Office; in the Breviary of Paul VI it has been replaced by the Office of Readings
_
Lauds or Dawn Prayer (at Dawn, or 3 a.m.)
_
Prime or Early Morning Prayer (First Hour = approximately 6 a.m.)
_
Terce or Mid-Morning Prayer (Third Hour = approximately 9 a.m.)
_
Sext or Midday Prayer (Sixth Hour = approximately 12 noon)
_
None or Mid-Afternoon Prayer (Ninth Hour = approximately 3 p.m.)
_
Vespers or Evening Prayer ("at the lighting of the lamps", generally at 6 p.m.)
_
•_Compline or Night Prayer (before retiring, generally at 9 p.m.)

Byzantine Hours:
Minor hours:
_•_First Hour corresponds to daybreak (6:00 a.m.).
_
Third Hour corresponds to mid-morning (9:00 a.m.)
_
Sixth Hour corresponds to mid-day (12:00 noon)
_
Ninth Hour corresponds to mid-afternoon (3:00 p.m.)
Major Hours
_
Matins/Orthros: morning prayer - usually between first and third hour.
_
Vespers: at dusk, or after dinner. ( around the 12th hour)
_
•_Compline: at bedtime

The byzantine communal celebration of vespers is generally sung, collectively, with the chant of psalms often being antiphonal.


#8

[quote="Phillip_Rolfes, post:5, topic:240909"]
Ooops! I didn't realize you were on the Eastern Catholics forum. :p

[/quote]

Surprise :)

If you go to an Eastern Catholic or Orthodox monastery you will experience the full celebration of Vespers. Likewise, Matins/Orthros (= Morning Prayer) can also take anywhere from 1/2 hour to a good 2.5 hours depending on whether or not the parish/monastery celebrates the full service. I hope you enjoy Vespers. It is one of my favorite services outside of the Divine Liturgy. :thumbsup:

I definitely want to experience the full version. I attended a Divine Liturgy at an Orthodox Cathedral recently and someone there suggested that I would thoroughly enjoy Vespers. I think I would like to experience it in an Eastern Catholic Church (Sunday obligation and all).

Thanks for the detailed information!


#9

Thanks for really breaking it down and the comparison between Latin versus Byzantine.

Would you say that it differs dramatically from one Eastern rite to the other?


#10

[quote="Padraig1972, post:4, topic:240909"]
Most likely i will attend this tomorrow eve as well for the first time in a dominican church. I am excited and this is first ecounter with both the domincan friars in the diocese here as well as Vespers.

[/quote]

[quote="Soldier_Of_God, post:2, topic:240909"]
Yes, it is similar to praying the LoTH. V[FONT=Arial][size=2]espers is a service composed of Psalms, prayers and liturgical hymnody. It lasts roughly for a half hour[/size]. [/FONT]

[/quote]

Are you both referring to Latin vespers? I should have been more specific, although I would like to eventually experience Latin vespers as well.


#11

[quote="TrueLight, post:9, topic:240909"]
Thanks for really breaking it down and the comparison between Latin versus Byzantine.

Would you say that it differs dramatically from one Eastern rite to the other?

[/quote]

Most likely differs a lot between traditions like the Copts, Syrians and Greeks.

If you go to a Byzantine Catholic church (Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Romanian) there are several jurisdictions sharing the Byzantine-Slavonic rite (with slight variations), so if they celebrate vespers it should be similar between them.

I recall many (or perhaps most) Eastern Catholic parishes did not actually do vespers, in that respect they were a lot like RC parishes with Saturday night Masses. This situation may have changed in the last six years, but I wouldn't be willing to bet either way.

The parish I belonged to was one of the few which did introduce vespers, and the priest had to teach the congregation about it. The tradition had almost completely died out in the diocese but the pastor (one of the younger priests then) probably learned how to do it in seminary, or perhaps when he studied in Rome.

The best way to deal with this is to get the phone listings and call around. Ask the priest "what time is vespers?" It will get you in touch with the apostolic roots of the church, and the hours is still the official prayer of the church, the full cycle is also very catechetical (if it is in the vernacular).


#12

[quote="Phillip_Rolfes, post:3, topic:240909"]
You'd be in for quite a treat. And, if you go to an Eastern Catholic parish for Saturday night Vespers it fulfills your Sunday obligation!:thumbsup:

[/quote]

Yes, Vespers is a treat! I love it.
Why would Vespers fulfill the Sunday obligation? You would not be receiving the Eucharist at Vespers and it is not Divine Liturgy.

I especially enjoy Vespers when it's dark outside, requiring candles inside. The candle light adds to the beauty of the prayers.

I believe Tranquil Light is the oldest prayer sung in Vespers, about 1600 yrs old. Someone can correct me on that. We share this prayer with all the saints who sang this prayer before us, and now it's our turn! Love it. Love the Litya too. You may need to attend a few times to 'acquire the taste' for it. Let us know what you thought!


#13

[quote="PennyinCanada, post:12, topic:240909"]
Yes, Vespers is a treat! I love it.
Why would Vespers fulfill the Sunday obligation? You would not be receiving the Eucharist at Vespers and it is not Divine Liturgy.

I especially enjoy Vespers when it's dark outside, requiring candles inside. The candle light adds to the beauty of the prayers.

I believe Tranquil Light is the oldest prayer sung in Vespers, about 1600 yrs old. Someone can correct me on that. We share this prayer with all the saints who sang this prayer before us, and now it's our turn! Love it. Love the Litya too. You may need to attend a few times to 'acquire the taste' for it. Let us know what you thought!

[/quote]

Well I don't receive the Eucharist either way. :(

Is there another reason besides that why it wouldn't fulfill the obligation? Is it because it's not Divine Liturgy?


#14

[quote="TrueLight, post:10, topic:240909"]
Are you both referring to Latin vespers? I should have been more specific, although I would like to eventually experience Latin vespers as well.

[/quote]

Yes, I was referring to the Latin Vesper. I presumed that since you are becoming a Roman Catholic, that is what you were looking for information on. I know this is the Eastern Catholic forum but sometimes people post in the wrong forum. My mistake.


#15

The reason one can participate in Vespers (or Orthros/Matins for that matter) and still fulfill one's "Sunday obligation" is that Vespers and Orthros/Matins (or any of the canonical hours) are not seen as distinct entities, rather they are seen as extensions of the Eucharistic celebration itself. Vespers is the liturgical beginning of the new day (sunset is traditionally and biblically the beginning of the day. So sundown on Saturday night is liturgically the beginning of Sunday). Also, Vespers and Matins/Orthros are the two hinges of daily liturgical prayer

The fulfillment of one's Sunday obligation isn't contingent upon reception of Communion. For that matter, however, the East really has no concept of "Sunday obligation." We attend the Sunday liturgical services because they are what keep us spiritually alive, in much the same way as the oxygen or our heartbeats keep our bodies alive. I am in no way obligated to eat or breath... but it sure is good for me when I do. :D The liturgical services also keep us aware of and attentive to God's loving presence in our individual lives and in the world at large, as well as his loving condescension towards mankind.


#16

[quote="TrueLight, post:10, topic:240909"]
Are you both referring to Latin vespers? I should have been more specific, although I would like to eventually experience Latin vespers as well.

[/quote]

I dont know. As it will be my first time in the church too which is a part of the dominican monestary here in my hometown. Will let you know when im back from the mass and vespers.


#17

[quote="Phillip_Rolfes, post:15, topic:240909"]

The fulfillment of one's Sunday obligation isn't contingent upon reception of Communion. For that matter, however, the East really has no concept of "Sunday obligation." We attend the Sunday liturgical services because they are what keep us spiritually alive, in much the same way as the oxygen or our heartbeats keep our bodies alive. I am in no way obligated to eat or breath... but it sure is good for me when I do. :D The liturgical services also keep us aware of and attentive to God's loving presence in our individual lives and in the world at large, as well as his loving condescension towards mankind.

[/quote]

That is a wonderful way of looking at it. I prefer that to the idea of obligation, but it is what it is.

I asked in another thread how prayers can be considered penance. I find it a joy to be in the presence of God and to be praying and speaking to him.


#18

[quote="Soldier_Of_God, post:14, topic:240909"]
Yes, I was referring to the Latin Vesper. I presumed that since you are becoming a Roman Catholic, that is what you were looking for information on. I know this is the Eastern Catholic forum but sometimes people post in the wrong forum. My mistake.

[/quote]

No, my mistake. For some reason, I thought Vespers was only in the Eastern churches so I didn't specify.


#19

[quote="Hesychios, post:11, topic:240909"]
Most likely differs a lot between traditions like the Copts, Syrians and Greeks.

If you go to a Byzantine Catholic church (Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Romanian) there are several jurisdictions sharing the Byzantine-Slavonic rite (with slight variations), so if they celebrate vespers it should be similar between them.

I recall many (or perhaps most) Eastern Catholic parishes did not actually do vespers, in that respect they were a lot like RC parishes with Saturday night Masses. This situation may have changed in the last six years, but I wouldn't be willing to bet either way.

The parish I belonged to was one of the few which did introduce vespers, and the priest had to teach the congregation about it. The tradition had almost completely died out in the diocese but the pastor (one of the younger priests then) probably learned how to do it in seminary, or perhaps when he studied in Rome.

The best way to deal with this is to get the phone listings and call around. Ask the priest "what time is vespers?" It will get you in touch with the apostolic roots of the church, and the hours is still the official prayer of the church, the full cycle is also very catechetical (if it is in the vernacular).

[/quote]

Hi Hesychios,

I found a Russian Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite and they have Saturday Vespers. So I might be checking that out maybe tomorrow!

Are there any prostrations during vespers? Are people mostly standing? Any tips would be helpful.

Edited: Ridgerunner posted this link in another thread.

I was a little surprised at the appearance of the church. I expected there to not be a lot of pews. Do Eastern Catholic churches pretty much look like Roman Catholic Churches but with Eastern art and icons?


#20

[quote="Phillip_Rolfes, post:3, topic:240909"]
Vespers is actually a part of the Liturgy of the Hours. It is more commonly known as "Evening Prayer" among Roman Catholics. Typically it is also more commonly celebrated publicly on Sunday nights, although Saturday nights instead of a "Vigil Mass" would be more traditional. Vespers in a Roman parish would indeed last about half an hour. If you want to check out something interesting see if you can find an Eastern Catholic or Eastern Orthodox parish that celebrates Saturday night Vespers. You'd be in for quite a treat. And, if you go to an Eastern Catholic parish for Saturday night Vespers it fulfills your Sunday obligation!:thumbsup:

[/quote]

You got that wrong!. A Vesper service does not fulfill your Sunday obligation. If you go to a Saturday evening Divine Liturgy, that fulfills your Sunday obligation. Most Greek Catholic parishes offer a Saturday night Divine Liturgy. Most Orthodox churches offer the Saturday night Vespers. Some Greek Catholic Churches offer both on Saturday night. Vespers/Divine Liturgy. But the Vespers portion seems quite faster than one found in an Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church I have been to, takes about 40 minutes for Vespers.


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