Learning to navigate the liturgical books.

Posted By: MalpanaGiwargis

Learning to navigate the liturgical books. - 12/20/13 11:12 PM

Hello, all.

I'm a Roman Rite Catholic who has been attending a Ruthenian parish for the last few months. I am fairly knowledgeable in the rubrics of the Roman liturgical books from the Council of Trent on, and I am enjoying the experience of beginning to learn the Byzantine Rite in a more experiential way. I do have a general question, particularly with respect to the Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh.

Has the Metropolia actually published all of the various liturgical books (Menaion, Octoechos, etc.)? I have seen everything the MCI has, but they don't seem complete. For instance, I have been trying to learn how the various services are put together; though I doubt I have time to regularly say daily Vespers, I do wish to know how it "works." One thing I run into, though, is that I cannot locate, e.g., the proper stichera for the Lamplighting psalms, as these are not given in the Menaion on the MCI site (unless I am mistaken). If this is true, where are approved texts taken from?

Thanks in advance from a burgeoning Byzantine!
Posted By: JimG

Re: Learning to navigate the liturgical books. - 12/21/13 12:07 AM

The best source I have found for the liturgy of the hours is the Byzantine Daily Office published online daily by Eastern Christian Publications. It is a complete resource for reciting the daily office If you are looking more for the liturgical elements you might want to get the Typicon published by the Byzantine Seminary Press.
Posted By: Paul B

Re: Learning to navigate the liturgical books. - 12/21/13 07:43 PM

They don't have an online catalog, but they carry the Vespers, Matins, Festal Menaion, Pentecostarion and Triodion books for the Pittsburgh Metropolia.

Posted By: ByzKat

Re: Learning to navigate the liturgical books. - 12/22/13 12:32 PM

I'm going to be a little wordy here, but I think it's justified : )

To celebrate the entry Byzantine Rite divine office requires about twenty LARGE books of hymns and prayers. The closest we have in modern English are the books put out by the Melkites, but these often differ in quite a few ways from the Slavic liturgical tradition used by Ukrainians and Subcarpathian Ruthenians.

This was a problem in small churches even in Europe, and one solution was to use the small Byzantine collection called the General Menaion: a set of generic hymns for each class of saint, when do didn't have access to a full twelve-volume Menaion with hymns for the liturgical year.

The new (2006) Divine Liturgies book in the Byzantine Catholic Church contained such a general menaion for the Divine Liturgy, so that if prophet is celebrated on a particular day, one can sing the troparion, kontakion, prokeimenon, and alleluia for a prophet, inserting only the name where appropriate.

NOW, the MCI Menaion mentioned by the original poster was intended as a supplement to the Divine Liturgies book. According the MCI website publications page, it contains

"... the synaxarion (names of the saints and events commorated on each day, with brief explanations), together with the troparia, kontakia, prokeimena, and communion hymns assigned to each day in the calendar."

This is basic information needed for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the SPECIFIC saint of the day, including prefestive and postfestive hymns, WITH MUSIC, and a little information about the liturgical commemoration of the day. The troparia and kontakia are mostly taken from the corresponding section of the Book of Matins of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great.

To celebrate Vespers and Matins, you also need the additional hymns called stichera. These ARE available for the Byzantine Catholic Church, though not yet in a complete set.

For example, at Sunday Vespers (on Saturday evenings), the MCI Sunday Vespers book includes the complete set of Sunday stichera at the Lamplighting Psalms and the Aposticha, in all eight tones, with music. On an ordinary Sunday, these would be supplemented with a small number of hymns for the saint of the day. The MCI website has a leaflet for every Saturday of the year with these hymns. Similar leaflets are available for each major feast.

For ordinary (weekday) Vespers, the MCI Daily Vespers book contains the weekday stichera in all eight tones for the Lamplighting Psalms and Aposticha, together with a general menaion for classes of saints. So one might combine, for example, the stichera for Thursday in Tone 5 with the hymns for a single apostle. The preface explains how this is done.

(The MCI Sunday Matins book contains all the hymns needed for Matins on an Ordinary Sunday, supplemented by leaflets for major feasts and the Sundays of the Great Fast. A book for daily Matins is in preparation, and I am working on the common of saints for that now, based on models from the Eparchy of Mukachevo.)

For further details, Father David Petras' Annual Typikon and Common Typikon (available from the Byzantine Seminary Press) are invaluable, and give ALL the details - but also assume that one has all the needed books.

By the way - the Byzantine Daily Office from Eastern Christian Publications is a wonderful resource, but:

1. It is NOT the complete Byzantine Divine Office; it omits the key services of Vespers and Matins, and contains instead the lesser Hours.

2. It does NOT provide the actual hymns (troparia and kontakia) for each day of the year from the Menaion (except for major feasts). Instead, it uses the common troparia and kontakia for classes of saints from the 2007 Divine Liturgies book. Thus, it sticks to "very official" texts but at the cost of a fair amount of repetition. It DOES include the synaxarion entry for each saint (from the MCI menaion).

Over the last eight years, in the course of providing music for Saturday evening Vespers, the MCI has assembled and set to music ALMOST all the Lamplighting stichera of the full Menaion, and later this year we plan to publish these as monthly collections, beginning in September, in editions with and without music.

Jeff Mierzejewski

P.S. I'm happy to discuss specific questions via e-mail at Plainchanter@gmail.com.
Posted By: MalpanaGiwargis

Re: Learning to navigate the liturgical books. - 12/22/13 10:28 PM

Thank you all for your help!
Posted By: haydukovich

Re: Learning to navigate the liturgical books. - 12/25/13 06:44 PM

Jeff ... you are a tremendous resource for the Byzantine world -

The knowledge you have is amazing.

Just want to express my gratitude for all your efforts.

John Haydukovich
Posted By: Fr. John Morris

Re: Learning to navigate the liturgical books. - 01/06/14 08:42 PM

The Melkites have published a 12 vol. set of the Menaion as well as multi-volumn sets of the Book of the 8 Tones for Sundays and Week days, the Lenten Triodion and the Pentecostarion. They are identical with the books used by Eastern Orthodox.

Fr. John W. Morris
Posted By: Fr. John Morris

Re: Learning to navigate the liturgical books. - 01/06/14 08:45 PM

You can also find the complete text for Saturday evening Great Vespers and Sunday morning Matins every week at the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese web site. Look for the Department of Liturgics and Translations and click on weekly Liturgical guide. We did this so that a chanter dose not have to use several books. Naturally these follow modern Antiochian Orthodox use.

Fr. John W. Morris
Posted By: haydukovich

Re: Learning to navigate the liturgical books. - 02/08/14 10:58 AM

Can't wait to see those Jeff ... thank you
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