Until the revolution in Russia, there was a universal tradition of reading the “lay order” of the services. In the absence of the priest in church, or at home, the entire family would read part or all of the daily cycle of Church services. We will talk today about what happened to this good tradition, how to revive it, and what benefit it brings for the whole body of the Church.
I still keep this joy in my soul. Can you answer me, where did it fall on me (like a bolt from the blue) from?! I believe God gave it to me then as a deposit so that I would not lose heart. And He can give it to anyone. All we need to do is ask: ‘I am yours, O Lord! Please, never abandon me. I want to rejoice in You and don’t need anything else!’
The Sunday of Holy Pascha and all the succeeding days of Bright Week follow a unique order of services dramatically unlike the order used throughout the rest of the year. Many psalms and other regular fixtures of the services disappear; the tone of the Octoechos changes every day instead of every week—in effect, Bright Week is a week of Sundays, a week of Pascha.
On weekdays in Great Lent—from Sunday evening through Friday evening each week – the order of daily services (Vespers, Matins, and the Hours) changes from the normal order in several significant ways, ranging from what hymnography is sung, to which litanies are omitted, to when and how many times the Prayer of St. Ephraim is said. All these details are discussed here.
In this lesson, Fr. Herman discusses the Nativity season, beginning with the Nativity Fast, the two Sundays of the Forefathers before Christmas, the Christmas forefeast, the special services for Christmas Eve, and the feast itself. Then we look at how Theophany in most ways mirrors Nativity, noting a few differences. We also discuss how the order of services differs when Christmas or Theophany falls on either a Sunday or a Monday.
What are the Hours? When are they read, and what do they consist of? This video discusses such details and also presents an overview of the variable hymnography used at Divine Liturgy, including the troparia on the Beatitudes (i.e., the third antiphon), the troparia and kontakia after the Little Entrance, and the prokimenon, Epistle, alleluia, and Gospel. A few other practical details about Liturgy are also considered.
The rank of a particular commemoration on the liturgical calendar governs many details about how the services for that day will be celebrated. Which stichera (and how many) will be sung at Vespers, whether Matins will have a Gospel reading or the Great Doxology, and whether we sing weekday or Sunday Theotokia at these services are just a few of the details which the rank determines.
Much as we began our study of the entire order of Vespers by focusing on “Lord, I Call” and its stichera, so we’ll begin to learn about Matins by first looking at the Canon, which many find to be a daunting form of hymnography to understand and to do.