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The Origins of Pascha and Great Week - Part II

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Rev. Alkiviadis C. Calivas

[Click here to read the first half of this article]

The Text

An Historical Overview

The divine services of Great Week are an expanded version of the series of services of the daily cycle of worship.[19] As we shall see below, the services from Great Monday to Great Thursday are ordered in accordance with the Lenten form of the weekday services. From Great Friday to Pascha they are structured basically according to the festal form of these services.

The services of the daily cycle contain both fixed and variable elements. The fixed elements of the services are contained in the liturgical book called the Horologion; while, in the case of Great Week and Pascha, the variable festal elements are contained in the Triodion and Pentecostarion, respectively. The prayers, petitions and litanies said by the priest and deacon are contained in the Hieratikon.[20] I mention here briefly, that at the turn of this century both the fixed and variable elements of the services of Great Week, as well as the priestly prayers and petitions were gathered together in one volume, under the title "The Holy and Great Week." But, more will be said about this below.

The variable elements of the divine services of Great Week and Pascha, consist chiefly of a substantial body of hymns and a group of selected readings from the Scriptures. This material is found in the Triodion and Pentecostarion. The Triodion[21] is the liturgical book of the Pre-Lenten and Lenten seasons (Great Fast), as well as Great Week; while the Pentecostarion[22] is the liturgical book of the Paschal season. Together they contain the services of the movable cycle of feasts, which is determined and regulated by the date of Pascha, which changes from year to year. The movable cycle of feasts, with its manifold celebrations of sacred memories and events, covers a period of eighteen weeks and creates a rich and varied landscape in the liturgical year.

At one time these two books constituted a single volume divided into two sections. The first, which is the present Triodion, was known as the Penitential Triodion.[23] The second was called the Joyful Triodion. At one point in the history of their respective development the two sections were separated to form two distinct liturgical books.

The decision to create two separate volumes out of one was of little consequence. However, the point chosen to part the texts in the sequence of the services was significant. The decision to conclude the services of the Triodion with the Paschal Vespers and Liturgy, and to begin the Pentecostarion with the Orthros of Pascha dramatically altered the unity of the Paschal vigil.[24] We shall say more about this below.

The Triodion in its present form was first published in Venice in 1522 while the Pentecostarion was first published in 1568. Much of the material contained in the Triodion and Pentecostarion was composed, compiled and arranged by the monks of the Monastery of Studios in Constantinople during the course of the eighth and ninth centuries. Considerable additional materials, however, were introduced and incorporated into the texts in subsequent centuries, both for the older established feasts as well as for the new and emerg­ing ones.[25] The process of development continued through to the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries. By then, the texts of the divine services had become more or less settled. The same, however, cannot be said about the manner of celebration or ritual action, nor about the order and arrangement of the services. All of these, one could say, continue to be in a state of development.

Characteristically, in our liturgical texts many hymns and prayers do not bear the names of their authors. However, we do know a good number of them.

Many of the hymnographers, whose works are contained in the Triodion, before and after its formative period, came from places other than Constantinople, such as Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece and Southern Italy. Among these, the most promi­nent came from the Lavra of St. Savas in Jerusalem.

The hymns of Great Week and Pascha were written by some of the most excellent hymnographers of the Church. Among those whom we can identify we count: Romanos the Melodist (ca. + 560); Kosmas the Melodist, Bishop of Maiouma (ca. + 750); John of Damascus (ca. +749); Andrew of Crete (ca. +720); Leo the Emperor (ca. +912); and Kassiane (ninth century); and others such as Methodios the Patriarch, Byzantios, Theophanes, Sergios the Logothete, Symeon, George the Akropolites, and Mark the Bishop. Others remain anonymous.

The hymns of Great Week and Pascha are probably the finest example of Orthodox hymnography, which in its totality, accord­ing to many, is among the very finest, if not the finest expression of Christian poetry.[26]

The hymns of the divine services we are considering are richly ladened with theology and are replete with biblical language and imagery. They are superbly didactic and inspirational. They reach and touch all aspects of human experience at the deepest level. When properly executed, the nuances of the hymnography are especially enhanced by the traditional chant of the Church. It could be said of these hymns that they are a string of sermonettes in song, especially rich, inspiring and powerful both for their poetic beauty and melodic synthesis, as well as for their theological con­tent and deep spirituality.

We experience worship essentially as a confession of faith. Therefore, the hymns and prayers of the divine services are more doctrinal than lyrical in nature. Thus, the service books of the Church are counted among the "symbolic books," and count as a source for doctrinal teachings.

The Liturgical Text According to Present Usage

The liturgical books presently used by the Orthodox Church have either originated in the monasteries or have been greatly influenced by monastic practices.

The Typikon of St. Savas

The services of the daily cycle of worship as we know them today, reflect monastic usages and traditions; especially of the two monastic centers that produced and developed them, i.e., the Ho­ly Lavra of St. Savas of Jerusalem and the Monastery of Studios in Constantinople.

The monastic liturgical tradition of the Orthodox East has come down to us through the "Typikon of the Church Service of the Holy Lavra at Jerusalem of our God-bearing Father St. Savas," popularly known as "The Typikon of St. Savas."[27] As the title indicates, this Typikon originated at the Lavra founded by St. Savas (+532) at Jerusalem in the year 484.[28] In the initial stages of its development, the Typikon was influenced by practices and customs of the early monastic communities in Egypt, Palestine and Asia Minor, as well as the Cathedral Office of Jerusalem, which had become a center of pilgrimage. During the seventh and eighth centuries the Typikon of St. Savas was revised and greatly enriched by the massive infusion of ecclesiastical poetry. In the course of the eighth century as a result of the iconoclastic controversy, the Palestinian monastic Typikon came to the monasteries of Con­stantinople, and especially to the Monastery of Studios. Due to the work of its hegoumenos St. Theodore (+826), this monastery had become the center of monastic revival and reform in the Im­perial City. At Studios the Palestinian Typikon underwent a new synthesis. It was embellished further with new poetry and with elements of the Cathedral Office of Constantinople. The Studite rite spread to other monastic communities as well.[29]

In a subsequent development, the Studite synthesis was re­worked and further modified by Palestinian monks during the course of the eleventh century. In the process a new, revised Typikon of St. Savas was produced and established. This new revised monastic Typikon soon gained in popularity and use. At the begin­ning of the thirteenth century it began to replace both the Cathedral Office as well as the Studite synthesis at Constantino­ple. By the fifteenth century these usages had become defunct. The new, revised Typikon of St. Savas prevailed throughout the Orthodox world, until the nineteenth century.[30] The position of the new Sabaite Typikon was especially solidified in the sixteenth century by virtue of its publication in 1545, thus becoming the earliest of the printed typika.

These revisions together with the infusion of new poetry com­posed by Sabaite and Studite monks and others, resulted in the formation of the Horologion and the liturgical books we know as the Octoechos, Triodion, Pentecostarion, and Menaia.

The Cathedral or Sung Office

The Cathedral Office or Rite represents the type of services and liturgical traditions which from ancient times were practiced in the parochial or secular churches. These rites are called Cathedral, because the bishop's church was considered the center of all liturgical life. Consequently, the liturgical practices of the cathedral churches permeated the parishes.

In time, the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia at Constantinople would emerge as the single most significant Church edifice in the East. As Robert Taft has noted, ". . . in no liturgical tradition has one edifice played such a decisive role as Justinian's Hagia Sophia ... where the Byzantine rite was molded and celebrated, and where the vision of its meaning, enacted elsewhere on a smaller stage, was determined and kept alive."[31]

The Cathedral Office at Constantinople, known also as the Sung or Secular Service, was regulated by the Typikon of the Great Church.[32] It was called by that name, because Hagia Sophia itself was known as the Great Church.

The Cathedral Office had four services for the daily cycle: Vespers, Pannychis, Orthros and Trithekte. The structure, order and number of services differed from the Monastic Office. While elaborate and imposing, the Cathedral Office lacked the large body of hymnody contained in the revised Monastic Office. By com­parison it had become the more staid of the two. For this and other reasons, it finally fell into disuse. However, as we have noted above, various elements of the Cathedral Office had already passed into the monastic Typikon. From the fifteenth century until 1838 all Orthodox Churches, whether parish or monastic, followed the same basic Typikon of St. Savas.

Typikon of the Great Church of Christ

By the beginning of the nineteenth century it had become ob­vious that the monastic typikon could not be sustained in parish usage. Already, numerous abbreviations and omissions were taking place. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, in an effort to forestall fur­ther arbitrary changes as well as to sanction existing practices and traditions, took an enormous first step towards revising the typikon and accommodating it to parish usage. In 1838 it autho­rized the publication of the The Ecclesiastical Typikon according to the Style of the Great Church of Christ, pre­pared by the Protopsaltis, Konstantinos. This typikon was clearly intended for parish use.

Subsequently, in order to correct the mistakes of Konstantinos, as well as to incorporate further revisions, the Ecumenical Patri­archate established two committees, one under Patriarch Joachim III (1878-84) and another under Patriarch Dionysios V (1887-1891), to study the issue of the Typikon and to make further recommen­dations. As a result of these efforts, the Patriarchate authorized in 1888 the publication of a second revised Typikon prepared by the Protopsaltis, George Violakis, under the title Typikon of the Great Church of Christ.Violakis made many changes, including abbreviations and changes in the order of the services. The new typikon did not create a body of new material; but it did create a new liturgical practice, which is essentially a revised and abbreviated monastic office adapted to parochial usage.[33]

It may be, as it has been suggested,[34] that some of the revi­sions made by Violakis were ill-advised. Yet, inspite of its short­comings, the effort must be commended as a necessary response of the Church to emerging needs and circumstances.[35]

The new Typikon of Constantinople was adopted gradually by: the churches under the immediate jurisdiction of the Patriarchate; all Greek-speaking churches; and to a varying degree by other chur­ches. The older Typikon of St. Savas continues to be used by most monastic communities, as well as the Churches of Jerusalem and Russia and others.

Liturgical Texts

The decision to develop a new Typikon, in order to regulate liturgical practices in the parishes and to give formal approval to established usages, was not free from difficulties and problems. One such problem was related to the liturgical texts themselves and the need to bring them into conformity with the new regula­tions. This was a formidable as well as a sensitive task. Never­theless, the need was real and obvious. A process, though gradual and slow, was set in motion to accomplish the job. That process is still evolving.

To avert unnecessary tensions, one solution to the problem was to continue publishing the books related to the daily office (i.e. the Octoechos, Triodion, Pentekostarion and Horologion), in the traditional manner. This avoided the necessity to alter and or abbreviate the venerable texts. The priestly books, however, and the guides for chanters and readers reflected the order of the new Typikon. The burden was placed on the clergy and the chant­ers to wade through the materials and decipher the order. While this arrangement for the most part prevails to the present day, it had become obvious that it could not apply to the celebration of Great Week without severe difficulties.

Thus, in 1906 the Ecumenical Patriarchate approved the publication of a single volume containing the services of Great Week and Pascha, under the title The Holy and Great Week.Besides the material from the Trio­dion and Pentekostarion, the volume contained priestly prayers and petitions, the designated pericope of the Scriptures and other useful items. The order of the divine services was in accordance with rubrics of the new Typikon of Constantinople.

This text spread and prevailed throughout the Greek-speaking Orthodox Churches. For the purposes of our study we shall refer to it as the Patriarchal Text. The order of the divine services described below is based on this text.

 The Patriarchal Text was compiled and edited by Nikodemos P. G. Neokles,[36] a cleric of the Ecumenical Patriarchate., This volume, however, was not unique. A similar work containing the divine services of Lent and Great Week was published a decade earlier by another cleric, Emmanuel Liodopoulos.[37]

The Patriarchal Text of the Great Week was republished by the Apostolike Diakonia of the Church of Greece in 1953.[38] This and subsequent editions of "The Holy and Great Week" of the Apostolike Diakonia found wide, if not universal, use among the Greek Orthodox parishes in the United States.

However, the demand for a bilingual text for use by the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America was becoming more apparent. To meet this need Archbishop Michael in 1952 commissioned the Press of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology to reprint the Greek-English text of The Services for Holy Week and Easter Sunday From the Trio­dion and Pentecostarion, printed by Williams and Norgate of Lon­don in 1915. This edition was soon exhausted.

To fill this void, Father George Papadeas, a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, compiled, edited and published in 1963 a new bilingual volume of the services of Great Week and Pascha. This book has been reprinted several times and has enjoyed con­siderable popularity. Because of this, it could be said that in some respects, it has determined the manner by which the divine ser­vices are celebrated and observed in many parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

These English translations, together with others, such as the Book of Divine Prayers and Services, compiled and arranged by Father Seraphim Nassar (published in 1938) and the Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic Church compiled, translated and arranged by Isabel Florence Hapgood (1906 and 1922) found wide appeal and use among Orthodox peoples in the Americas.[39]

Immensely important contributions to the study and knowledge of the liturgical tradition and rites of the Orthodox Church have been the publication of The Festal Menaion (in 1969, 1977) and The Lenten Triodion (in 1978), translated from the original Greek by Mother Mary and Archimandrite (now Bishop) Kallistos Ware. The excellent translation, as well as the scholarly introductory sec­tions, appendices and notes provide the reader with a wealth of information and a deep appreciation of Orthodox liturgical theology.

Finally, we should note that during the course of Great Week, besides the services of the daily cycle of worship, we celebrate also the following services: the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts, on the first three days;[40] the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil on Great Thursday and at the Paschal Vigil;[41] and the Divine , Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom after the Paschal Orthros. On Great Wednesday we conduct the Sacrament of Holy Unction,[42] and, in some places, especially in Cathedral Churches, the service of the "Washing of the Feet" on Great Thursday.[43]

THE TRANSPOSITION OF THE SERVICES

Throughout the centuries the faithful have observed Great Week and Pascha with fervor and great solemnity. Twice each day in the morning and in the evening, they would gather in the churches to celebrate the designated service at the appointed times. However, at some point in history the appointed times of the services began to change. The morning services were moved to the preceding evening and the evening services to the morning. It is not clear when and why these changes began to occur. By the middle of the nineteenth century, if not much sooner, it had become a common practice throughout the Orthodox Church. P. Rombotes in his book Christian Ethics and Liturgics.[44] published in Athens in 1869 makes reference to the custom, as does the new Typikon of Constantinople.[45] The reasons for the change appear to be ambiguous. Both Rombotes and the Typikon mention that it was done to accommodate the people.[46] This may have meant any number of things. For example, the new Typikon hints at one such possibility. By mentioning the fact that the ser­vices were very lengthy, it implies that the transposition occured in order to address this problem.[47]Another reason for the change may have come about as a result of some socio-political factors during the Ottoman rule. For example, a rule regulating the time for the public assembly of the Christian populace may have resulted in the shift of the services. Sometimes, an imposed practice in one generation or period has a way of becoming permanent.

Perhaps the most plausible reason for the rearrangement of the divine services is based on late medieval attitudes concerning the time of the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and the recep­tion of Holy Communion. According to long held popular beliefs, it was thought that the morning hours of the day were the most suitable and acceptable for the reception of Holy Communion. This being the case, it follows that all celebrations of the Divine Liturgy should be placed in the morning hours, regardless of the fact that some such celebrations were in fact nocturnal in nature.

An additional factor of considerable importance, which may also help explain the transfer of the morning services to the previous evening is the vigil or extended nocturnal service. There were several different types of vigils in the early and medieval Church.[48] Their structure, content and length varied according to purpose and local custom and usage. They were conducted as late night, all-night or pre-dawn observances. Vigils were held on the eve of great feasts as a sign of watchfulness and expectation. We know from several early and medieval documents that the Pas­sion of our Lord was observed liturgically in both Jerusalem and Constantinople with some type of vigil service.[49] There is suffi­cient evidence to connect the present Great Friday Orthros with these earlier vigil services. It is reasonable to assume from this that the present Orthros was originally observed as a nocturnal celebration. Thus, as the order and hours of the divine services of Great Week began to change and shift, this service - and by extension the other morning services of the Week - was advanced to earlier evening hours.

Whatever the reasons for the transposition of the services, we have in fact inherited a particularly peculiar tradition, which cir­cumvents both the normal liturgical practice as well as the natural order of things. Beginning with Great Monday and lasting through Great Saturday, the divine services are in an inverted position. Morning services are conducted the evening before and evening services are celebrated in the morning of the same day. Thus, on Palm Sunday evening, we conduct the Orthros of Great Monday and on the morning of Great Monday we celebrate the Vespers with the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy.[50] This pattern places us one half day ahead of the historical events and the natural order.

Of particular interest in this matter, is the order of the divine services for Great Thursday contained in the now defunct Typikon of the Great Church.[51] The services of the Orthros and the Trithekte in this Typikon are assigned to the morning hours, while a series of long services are designated for the evening hours. They are: the Vespers, followed by the Nipter (Washing of the feet), to which the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil is added beginning with the entrance of the Gospel. Before Holy Communion was distributed, the Patriarch also consecrated the Holy Myron. After the Divine Liturgy came the service of the Pannychis. In the Cathedral Office the Pannychis was a type of vigil service. This particular Pannychis on Great Thursday commemorated the pas­sion of the Lord. The twelve Gospel pericopes narrating the events of the passion were read at this service. These pericopes are the same as those now read in the present service of the Orthros of Great Friday, which in current practice is con­ducted on the evening of Great Thursday by anticipation.

From this description we learn at least two things. First, that Great Thursday evening in the late medieval church was supplied heavily with a series of long services. Second, the commemora­tion of the passion was conducted in the context of a vigil service (the Pannychis) on the night of Great Thursday. Because of the length of these services, I think we can safely assume they lasted well into the night. Can we assume also that Great Thursday eve­ning with its overburdened liturgy became the pivotal day in the process that saw the breakdown of liturgical units and their transposition to earlier hours? The Vesperal Divine Liturgy, for the reasons stated above, may well have been the first to be dislodg­ed from its original moorings, moving steadily forward in the day until it came to be celebrated in the morning hour. Next, the Pan­nychis or Vigil lost its original meaning and began to gravitate to an earlier hour. As these arrangements gradually evolved, the transposition of the morning services to the preceeding evening became the established practice.

Difficult as it may be, however, I believe that the Church is obliged to press the issue through careful study and find a way to restore the proper liturgical order. She can do no less, if she is to be true to her quest for and commitment to liturgical renewal and reform. St. Symeon of Thessalonike (+ 1429), an inspired stu­dent and teacher of liturgy noted in one of his treatises that once the Church has clarified and determined correct liturgical usages, we are obliged to change even those things that have become a practice by default. While we must honor and reverence our liturgical inheritance, we are also obliged to look at it more careful­ly and to distinguish between Tradition and custom. Here let me stress the point that it is the Church in her collective wisdom that must authenticate the need and procede to the reform of liturgical practice and usage.

 

THE ETHOS OF GREAT WEEK

The salvific events, which the Church remembers and celebrates in Great Week, are rooted in the inexhaustible mystery of God's ineffable love for the world that culminated in the incar­nation, the death and resurrection of His only-begotten Son and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The solemnities of Great Week help us to enter and penetrate the depths of this mystery. Each day has a particular theme, focus and story. Each story is linked to the other; and all together, they are bound up in the central event: the Pascha of the cross and the resurrection. Everything converges on the person of Jesus Christ, who was betrayed, crucified and buried; and who rose on the third day. These events are the keystones of the structure of Great Week. Through them we embrace the mystery of our salvation. Their radiance helps us to see again more clearly the depth of our sins, both personal and collective. Their power bursts upon us to re­mind us again of God's immeasurable love, mercy and power. Their truth confronts us again with the most crucial challenge: "to dare to be saints by the power of God ... To dare to have holy respect and reverence for ourselves, as we are redeemed and sanctified by the blood of Christ . . . To dare to have the courage to grasp the great power that has been given to us, at the same time realiz­ing that this power is always made perfect in infirmity, and that it is not a possession.[52]

Great Week brings us before two realities. On the one hand we are made aware of the dreadful blight of human sin, issuing from the rebellion against God that resides in us and around us; on the other hand, we experience anew the omnipotent, transfor­ming power of God's love and holiness.

From the beginning, Jesus and His gospel were met by a two­fold response: some believed and became His disciples; others re­jected Him and came to hate him, and to despise and scorn His Gospel.[53] These opposing attitudes towards the person and the message are especially evident in the events of Great Week. As the events unfold, false religiosity is unmasked (Mt 23.2-38); and the hellish bowels of the power of darkness are laid bare (Lk 22.53). Ensconced in the hearts of evil men - demonic, malignant and odious - the darkness seethes with deception, slander, devious­ness, greed, cowardice, treachery, betrayal, perfidy, rejection, hatred and aggressive hostility. Evil, in all its absurdity and fury, explodes on the Cross. But it is rendered powerless by the love of God (Lk 23.34). Christ is victor. Death is swallowed up. The tombs are emptied (Mt 27.52-53). Life is liberated. God and not man controls the destiny of the world.

In the course of the events of Great Week we encounter many contrasting figures and faces that call to judgement our own dispositions towards Christ. Great Week is not simply a time to remember; it is a time for repentance, for a greater and deeper conversion of the heart. Two hymns from the Orthros of Great Tuesday say it best:

O Bridegroom, surpassing all in beauty, Thou hast called us to the spiritual feast of Thy bridal chamber. Strip from me the disfigurement of sin, through participation in Thy sufferings; clothe me in the glorious robe of Thy beauty, and in Thy com­passion make me feast with joy at Thy Kingdom.

Come ye faithful, and let us serve the Master eagerly, for He gives riches to His servants. Each of us according to the measure that we have received, let us increase the talent of grace. Let one gain wisdom through good deeds; let another celebrate the Liturgy with beauty; let another share his faith by preaching to the uninstructed; let another give his wealth to the poor. So shall we increase what is entrusted to us, and as faithful stewards of His grace we shall be counted worthy of the Master's joy. Bestow this joy upon us, Christ our God, in Thy love for mankind.

In the solemnities of Great Week we experience afresh the em­brace of God's love and forgiveness; the gift and promise of eter­nity and plenitude. Quickened and energized by the experience, we continue by faith to climb the ladder of divine ascent. Certain of His love, we live in the saving tension of joyous-sorrow until He comes. With a repentant heart we live the joy of hope and the rapture of expectation for things to come (I Cor 2.9).

CONCLUDING REMARKS

As the order in the liturgical books clearly indicates, the full cycle of the daily services is observed on each day of Great Week at least in principle. In practice, however, parish communal wor­ship is generally centered on the daily Orthros and Vespers and the Divine Liturgies assigned to particular days. In the chapters that follow, I shall endeavor to give a detailed explanation of these divine services as they are currently observed and practiced. Each chapter begins with a brief reflection to help introduce the reader to the inner meaning of the observance. This is followed by some general observations and comments on the liturgical celebration of the day. Then, the order of the divine services of the particular day is presented, together with a description of special rites and an analysis of the rubrics. Finally, the reader will find useful historical, liturgical and bibliographical information in the endnotes.

The descriptions and rubrics of the divine services as we have noted are based chiefly on the book The Holy and Great Week , authorized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. For the sake of brevity, further reference to this book will be noted simply as, The Patriarchal Text.

It is hoped that the present study will lead the reader to a deeper appreciation of the spiritual riches contained in the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church in general, and in the divine services of Great Week in particular.

 

NOTES

19 The daily cycle of worship contains the following services: Midnight (Mesonyktikon), Orthros, Hours (First, Third, Sixth, Ninth), Vespers, and Compline (Apodeipnon). For a brief explanation of these services see A. Calivas, Come Before God (Brookline, 1986). For a comprehensive study on the development of the daily office, see Robert Taft, The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West (Collegeville, 1986}, Paul F. Bradshaw, Daily Prayer in the Early Church (New York, 1982). Also see Ioannis Fountoules, Ketyeva AMoveytxk (Thessalonike, 1977).

 

20 In addition to these four, the service books of the Church also include the: Ar­chieratikon; Euchologion; Evangelion; Apostolos; Prophetologion; Psalter; Octoechos (or Parakletike); the collection of twelve volumes, one for each month, called the Menaia; and the Typikon. Of these, the Prophetologion practically has fallen into disuse. The Old Testament readings it contains for various occasions and services have been dispersed throughout the other liturgical books. In addition to the formal books mentioned above, there exists a small library of books which contain, e.g., a) separate volumes for each of the sacraments and other services taken from the Euchologion; and b) compilations of services taken from the various books. One such book is the Sinekdimos or "compa­nion," which is especially useful for the laity; and another is the "Holy and Great Week" about which we will speak below.

21 The word `triodion' means simply `three odes' (τρεῖς ὠδαί). The name is derived from the fact that many of the Canons in the Triodion have only three odes, instead of the usual nine. A Canon is a series of hymns, sung at the Orthros service. A Canon is based on the nine odes or canticles of the Bible (eight from the Old Testament, and two from the New, the latter being combined into one, the ninth ode). Canons have a varying number of hymns in each series. The first hymn in the series is called the eirmos, and is usually set apart by quotations. The eirmos (= series) sets the meter and melody of each hymn in the series. Also, the eirmos usually provides a brief poetical summary and a theological reflection of the particular Biblical Ode in the series. The final hymn of each series is called the Katavasia. Like the preceding hymns in the series the Katavasia provides theological reflections on a given theme. The Katavasia derives its name from action of the chanters who would "step down" from their stalls to sing the hymn in unison. Today, in parish practice, the Canon has been mostly suppressed (except for Great Week), and only the Katavasiai are chanted. It should be noted, too, that Canons occur in other services besides the Orthros.

22 The Pentekostarion covers an eight-week period beginning with Pascha and ending with the Sunday of All Saints, which occurs one week after Pentecost, whence it gets its name.

23 The word κατανυκτικός means "to prick the heart." In devotional language it means to cause repentance, by opening the heart of sinners to the mercy, love and joy of God, Who brings salvation and sanctifies life.

24 The method by which the beginning of the day is reckoned appears to have had a significant impact on the formation of the observances of Great Week. Two such methods co-exist in the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church. One is of Judaic origin, while the other is Roman-Byzantine. According to the former, the day is reckon­ed from one sunset to the next. According to the latter, the day begins at midnight. It could be argued that the Roman-Byzantine method, which was incorporated into the laws of the Empire, became the dominant of the two methods. Accordingly, evening observances that once began the liturgical day (according to the Judaic practice), were seen more and more as celebrations of anticipation rather than part of the feast itself. As such, the evening observances of the great feasts acquired the characteristics of a vigil. In the Constantinopolitan tradition these vesperal services were called aapa4ovA - paramone. The paramone consisted of solemn vespers with Scripture lessons. Sometimes, as in the case of Pascha, Christmas and Theophany, the paramone con­cluded with a Eucharist. Once the evening celebrations were no longer considered as the beginning of a particular festival, it became easier to dislodge them from their original setting. For a discussion on the subject of the method by which the beginning of the day is reckoned, see A. Calivas, “Ἡ Ἀρχὴ τῆς Νυχθημέρου καὶ ἡ Λατρεία τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, in Ἀναφορὰ εἰς Μνήμην Μητροπολίτου Σάρδεων Μαξίμου 3 (Geneva, 1989) pp. 93-105. For a discussion on Cathedral Vigils and a description of the paramone, see R. Taft, Liturgy of the Hours, pp. 165-190 and especially p. 173.

25 For further information on the development of the Triodion, see E. Theodorou, H Μορφωτικὴ Ἀξία τοῦ Ἰσωύοντος Τριωδίου .

26 For additional information see P. N. Trembelas, Ἐκλογὴ Ἑλληνικῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Ὑμνογραφίας ”(Athens, 1949). N. P. Papadopou1os, “Ὑμνογράφοι Ἀδεσπότων Ἑορτῶν in Ἐκκλησία (1953) 109. K. Mitsakes, Βυζαντινὴ Ὑμνογραφία (Athens, 1986). A. Fitrakis, Ἡ Ἐκκλησίαστικὴ ἡμῶν Ποίησις, 1956. G. Florovsky, "Hymnographers, Polemicists and Florilegia" in his collected works, vol. 9, The Byzantine Fathers of the Sixth to Eighth Century (Belmont,1987), pp. 19-34. H. J. W. Tillyard, Byzantine Music and Hym­nography (London, 1923). E. Wellesz, A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (Oxford, 1961). S. J. Savas, The Treasury of Orthodox Hymnology. Triodion (Minneapolis, 1983). The Lenten Triodion, pp. 40-43. Dimitri Conomos, Byzantine Hymnography and Byzantine Chant (Brookline, 1984).

27 The Typikon is the Book of directives and rubrics, which regulate the order of the divine services for each day of the year. It presupposes the existence of other liturgical books which contain the fixed and variable parts of these services. In the strict monastic sense, the Typikon of the monastery includes both the rule of life of the community as well as the rule of prayer.

28 SeeA. Calivas, Χρόνος Τελέσεως τῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας , p. 197ff.

29 On the development of the Typikon, as well as the origins of the daily services, see A. Schmemann, Introduction to Liturgical Theology (Crestwood, 1966 and 1986). M. Arranz, "Les grandes etapes de la Liturgie Byzantine; Palestine-Byzance-Russie. Essai d'apergu historique," in Liturgie de Piglise particuliere et liturgie de Piglise universelle, 43-72. BELS 7 (Rome: Edizion: Liturgiche, 1976). R. Taft, The Liturgy of the Hours. The Study of Liturgy, eds. Jones, Wainwright, and Yarnold,1978, pp. 208-22 and 350-69. AndA. Calivas, Χρόνος Τελἐσεως τῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας . ForthetextsofvariousTypikasee, AleksejDimitrievskijOpsiananieLiturgitseskichRukopisej, Tupikav (Kiev, 1895 andHildesheim, 1965); andA. Papadopoulos-Kerameus, Ἀνάλεκτα Ἱεροσολημιτῆς Σταχυολογίας 2 (Petersburg, 1894). Seealsothe: Τυπικὸν Ἐκκλησιαστικὸν κατὰ τὸ ὕφος τῆς Χριστοῦ Μεγάλης Ἐκκλησίας, τοῦ Κωνσταντίνου Πρωτοψάλτου (Constantinople, 1838). Τυπικὸν τῆς τοῦ Μεγάλης Ἐκκλησίας, τοῦ Γεωργίου Βιολάκη (Athens, N.D.). Τυπικὸν τῆς Ἐκκλησιαστικῆς Ἀκολουθίας τῆς ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις Ἁγίας Λαύρας τοῦ Ὁσίου καὶ Θεοφόρου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Σάββα , Ἔκδ. Ἱεροδιακόνου Σπυρίδωνος Παπδοποὐλου; (Venice, 1771).

30 See Robert F. Taft, "Mt. Athos: A Late Chapter in the History of the Byzantine Rite," Dumbarton Oaks Papers (1988), pp. 179-194; "A Tale of Two Cities - The Byzan­tine Holy Week Tradition as a Paradigm of Liturgical History," in J. Neil Alexander, ed., Time and Community (Washington, 1990), pp. 21-41; and "in the Bridegroom's Absence. The Paschal Triduum in the Byzantine Church," in Studia Anelmiana, Analecta Liturgica, vol. 102 (1990), pp. 71-97. In this latter article Fr. Taft sums up the process of the development in these words, ". . . as the rite of Constantinople is being monasticized via Palestine, the rite of Palestine is being further byzantinized. The ultimate result of this evolution is the hybird new-Sabaitic synthesis we know as the `Byzantine Rite' " (p. 73). Gabriel Bertoniere, "The Historical Development of the Easter Vigil and Related Services in the Greek Church," Orientalia Christiana Analecta 193 (Rome, 1972).

31 See "The Liturgy of the Great Church" in Dumbarton Oaks Papers 34-35 (1980-81).

32 See the notable work of Juan Mateos, Le Typikon de la Grande L ° glise, vols. 1, 2 (Rome, 1962, 1963). These volumes contain a critical text of the Typikon, with an in­troduction and a French translation. See also, Evangelos Antoniades, “Περὶ τοῦ Ἀσματικοῦ ἤ Βυζαντινοῦ Κοσμικοῦ Τύπου τῶν Ἀκολουθιῶν της Ἡμερονυκτίου Προσευχή," Θεολογία 21-22 (1949-51). It is of interest to note, that, in our own time, the Monastery of New Skete (OCA) in Cambridge, NY, has used elements of the Cathedral Office in forming its own typikon. The Monastery has published a series of handsome volumes, that reflect its liturgical practice and usage. For a discussion on the liturgical practices of New Skete, and a longer bibliography on the Cathedral Office of Constantinople, see Robert Taft, "The Byzantine Office in the Prayerbook of New Skete: Evaluation of Proposed Reform," Orientalia Christians Periodica 48 (1982) 336-370.

33 See A. Calivas, Χρόνος Τελέσεως τῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας, pp . 36-41.

34 See Festal Menaion, p. 543.

35 The decision to revise the Typikon is especially significant for our times. It con­stitutes the basis, as well as the supporting argument for the continued review and study of our liturgical practices. Liturgical reform based on sound theological, devotional, spiritual and historical principles helps sustain the dynamic character of worship and provides the possibilities for creative continuity.

36    Ἡ Ἁγία καὶ Μεγάλη Ἑβδομάς (Constantinople, 1906).

37 Ἀκολουθία Κατανυκτικὴ τῆς Ἁγίας καὶ Μεγάλης Τεσσαρακοστῆς ἀπὸ τῆς Κυριακῆς τῆς Τυρινῆς Ἑσπέρας Μέχρι τῆς Κυριακῆς τοῦ Πάσχα(Athens, 1895). The notes of the editor are especially useful for the study of the liturgical practices in the last century.

38 The ninth edition was published in 1985 under the supervision of Protopresbyter Konstantinos Papagiannis. Also, the Apostolike Diakonia has published "pocket-size" versions of the text for use by the laity. Other publishing houses in Greece also have printed the Patriarchal Text.

39 To my knowledge, the classical work of John Glenn King, The Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church, in

Russia (1772), was the first English translation of Orthodox liturgical texts.

40 At one time the Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts was celebrated on Great Friday. The practice ceased long ago, probably for reasons of practicality due to the length of the divine services assigned to the day.

41 For reasons noted below these vesperal liturgies have been transposed to the morn­ing hours of Great Thursday and Great Saturday.

42 The text for this service is found in the Εὐχολόγιον. It is contained also in the Holy Week Book, edited by Father G. Papadeas.

43 The text for this service is not contained in the published editions of the Triodion. It is found in special volumnes published by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Monastery of St. John the Theologian at Patmos.

44 P. 243.

45 Τυπικὸν τῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ Μεγάλης Ἐκκλησίας, p. 362, note 46.

46 Χριστανικὴ Ἠθικὴ καὶ Λειτουργική, p . 243. Cf. Typikon, p. 355, note 42, and p. 301,

note 51. 1. Fountoules Ἀπαντήσεις ,vol. 2 (Thessalonike, 1975), p. 209 ff.

47 Τυπικόν, p. 362. A. careful study of the development of the horarium of the divine services in both the cathedral and monastic offices would prove useful in understanding, at least in part, these gradual shifts. What exactly were the assigned and actual hours of the daily office in the monasteries and the secular churches during the early and late medieval periods? How was the ordering of the horaria affected by the revisions or replace­ment of the Typika? What changes in societal structures affected the Church and im­pacted on the horaria? I have argued elsewhere, e.g., that such changes during the course of the early centuries brought about the transfer of the original evening eucharistic assembly first to the pre-dawn hours and later to the "third" hour of the day (see, Χρόνος Τελέσεως, pp. 165-96). Another item that may shed some light on the transposition of the Paschal Vigil Liturgy is related to the rule that allows for the celebration of only one Divine Liturgy by one priest on one altar on a given day or feast. Could a strict interpretation of this rule also have contributed to the shift of the Pachal Vigil Liturgy?

48See Robert Taft, The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West (Collegeville, 1986), pp. 165-90.

49 See below, Chapter Four, Great Friday. Also, in the tradition of Jerusalem the Or­thros of Great Saturday was celebrated as a nocturnal celebration.

50 The only service conducted at the regularly appointed hour is the Vesper Service of Great Friday.

51 See Mateos, Le Typicon, pp. 72-78.

52 Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration (New York, 1977), p. 148.

53 See Raymond E. Brown, An Adult Christ at Christmas (The Liturgical Press, 1987), p. 9.

Copyright:  1992

Source:  Great Week and Pascha in the Greek Orthodox Church

Editor:  Holy Cross Orthodox Press

 

 

 

 

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