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#45436 - 02/04/02 01:32 AM Liturgical question  
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Mor Ephrem Offline
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In the Syrian Church, the Feast of the Annunciation (25 March) is an absolute priority. Even if 25 March is Good Friday, the services of Good Friday aren't allowed to proceed until after the Holy Qurbana is celebrated for the Annunciation.

This year, 25 March is Monday of Holy Week (for those of us following the Gregorian calendar). The Syrian Church will of course celebrate Holy Qurbana on this day, even though it's normally forbidden except for Sundays, Mid-Lent, Fortieth day, Lazarus Saturday, Holy Thursday, and the Saturday of Good Tidings. This leads me to a question (other than my question on how the Office of the day is to be celebrated for us Syrians -- Annunciation Vespers and then Monday Vespers? Combined? Only Monday? Only Annunciation? -- so confusing, I've got to ask a bishop...):

How is this situation addressed in Byzantine Churches who celebrate the Annunciation normally on the twenty-fifth? Or, for those following Orthodox Easter, when the dates for Annunciation and Orthodox Holy Week coincide?

#45437 - 02/04/02 02:16 AM Re: Liturgical question  
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Phil,

The situation is the same. The Annunciation as one of the Twelve Great Feasts must be honored with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, even if it coincides with Great Friday. If it coincides with Pascha, which I believe can only happen with the Julian Calendar, both Annunciation and Pascha texts are taken.

In Christ,
Lance , deacon candidate


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#45438 - 02/04/02 09:11 AM Re: Liturgical question  
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Mor Ephrem Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Lance:
If it coincides with Pascha, which I believe can only happen with the Julian Calendar, both Annunciation and Pascha texts are taken.



Thanks, Lance. This leads me to another question. When you say that both Annunciation and Pascha texts are taken, I suppose the same goes for Good Friday. Now, does that mean that the texts are somehow combined, or does it mean that, for example, there are two Vespers services, one after the other?

#45439 - 02/04/02 02:21 PM Re: Liturgical question  
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When the Annunciation coincides with one of the days of Passion Week, both occasions are observed in the context of a single Vespers and other services of the day. Much depends on, of course, which day the Feast falls on. They are never taken as a separate service all to itself. The only addition is that the Divine Liturgy is added if it is on a Lenten weekday (aliturgical) or on Great Friday.

If it falls on Great Friday, a separate Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is celebrated in the morning of the day or at some convenient time before the "burial vespers" but the feast is still mentioned in the other services and its vespers are combined with those of the other days surrounding it (following the format I give below).

In a usual instance, when the Annunciation falls on one of the weekdays of Great Lent or the first three days of Passion Week, our typikon prescribes that the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom be celebrated together with Vespers (combining texts from both the feast and from the triodion) on the "evening of" March 25. These stichera are taken from the "evening of the Annunciation" and would actually be for March 26 (or the postfestive day of the Annunciation) with those from the triodion for the day of the week.

This is a departure from normal liturgical rules, which have the vesperal liturgy, if there is to be one, on the evening before the Feast. The vespers on the evening before (on March 24 in the evening) would include the stichera from the menaion for the Annunciation and those of the triodion for the day. If this is a day on which the Presanctifed Liturgy is celebrated, then the vespers are taken within the context of that service. But, the Divine Liturgy is always celebrated on the Annunciation itself, usually in the evening.

A point to remember is that the days of Great Lent are unlike normal liturgical days following the menaion or oktoekos. With the latter, the liturgical day begins at sundown the evening before with vespers and continues to vespers the following evening. During Lent, the days of the triodion begin with the morning of the day through the following morning. This is very confusing, I know.

So, during Lent, we actually have two cycles going on: that of the menaion or book of months, which observes the calendar day saints, which moves from evening to evening; and that of the triodion or lenten texts, which move from morning to morning. When these two are combined, it makes for an interesting but unusual phenomena. A third liturgical cycle involved is that of the oktoekos or eight tones, which is used on Sundays of Great Lent. This is used for the stichera and troparia for Lenten Sundays (including Saturday evening vespers) and in the "penitential stichera" for vespers on the Sunday evenings of Lent. It is always used in combination with the texts of the Lenten triodion and sometimes the saints of the day (menaion).

Sunday evening vespers during Lent are most beautiful and solemn, and mark the transfer to the next week of Lent. Two special penitential prokimena are prescribed for these vespers, alternating between the two, week after week. The time of the prokimenon is isolated by liturgists as the transitional point to the next day. In our usage, for the vespers of Cheesefare Sunday (and sometimes, other Sundays of Lent), bright vestments are often used until the time of the Prokimenon and then dark vestments are worn for the rest of the service.

The same idea is often employed with the "penitential melodies." Traditionally, we have a beautiful, special lenten melody for both the priest's chant and the congregation's responses. They are used at Presanctified, often at Lenten Vespers, hours, etc. Sometimes, on Sunday evenings, the regular melodies will be used until the Prokimenon and after that, the penitential ones.

An important point to remember also, is that all Lenten Sundays are days of the Resurrection. In the Ruthenian (including Ukrainian) recension, bright vestments are always to be worn on Sundays, except for the third Sunday of Lent, the Veneration of the Holy Cross (and the Sunday following the Exaltation of the Cross in September). In modern times, some traditions (especially the Russian and now OCA) have gone to wearing dark vestments throughout Lent, even on Sundays, but this is not correct and our recension keeps to the original usage of Sunday as the "maly Pascha" or "little Easter." Dark vestments at the Sunday Divine Liturgy are an abuse of this notion. Some of our bishops today specifically prescribe the use of bright vestments on Lenten Sundays, so that there is no confusion as to the proper practice.

A lot more could be written about this from a liturgical point of view. Our typikons have evolved from several traditions. I want to read the typikons of Father Petras and Father Isidore Dolnitskyj (in Ukrainian or Slavonic - the prototype of all modern Ruthenian typikons, including the early 20th. century one of Fr. Alexander Mykyta, published in Uzhorod), to see what else they may say about these Lenten and Great Week combinations. Joe

[ 02-04-2002: Message edited by: Joe ]

#45440 - 02/04/02 03:20 PM Re: Liturgical question  
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Mor Ephrem Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Joe:
During Lent, the days of the triodion begin with the morning of the day through the following morning. This is very confusing, I know.
[ 02-04-2002: Message edited by: Joe ]


Dear (Father?) Joe,

Thanks for that exhaustive (at least for me) explanation. To follow up, in the Syrian Church, on the first day of Lent (next Monday), we have a service of forgiveness called Shub'kono that officially begins Lent. Do Byzantine Churches start Lent on Monday morning, thus accounting for the change in policy regarding Lenten days?

#45441 - 02/04/02 04:02 PM Re: Liturgical question  
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Dear Mor Ephrem:

Yes, our tradition begins on the First Monday of Lent. But, we do have a service of forgiveness on the evening before, sometimes called "Forgiveness Vespers" or "Vespers of Cheesefare Sunday." This is a usual Lenten Sunday vespers with a forgiveness rite included, usually taken from the service of Small Compline.

This would seem to contradict the fact that Lenten days go from morning to morning, but nevertheless, they do. There are discrepancies however like this one and this is a question for Father Petras, as to how the Lenten days are from morning to morning but still, there is an aspect of them recalled the evening before anyway. This is what I remember from liturgy class.

Our liturgical traditions never have just one easy explanation, but that is what makes them so fascinating!

I will see what else I can find out.

God bless you always.

Priest Joe


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