Samstag, 22. März 2014

The Service Books of the Orthodox Church

by Archpriest Alexander Rudakov (Published in 1890 in Saint Petersburg)


The Service Books - the books that are used in the Divine  Services of the Orthodox Church - are the following: 
The Priestly  Service Book or Hieraticon, the Book of Hours, the Psalter, the Octoechos, the Menaion, the Lenten Triodion, the Pentecostaron, the Heirmologion, the Typicon and the Book of Needs. 

 1) The Priestly Service Book is, as the name suggests, the book used by the priests and deacons in officiating at Vespers, Mattins and the Liturgy.
 2) The Book of Hours contains the order of service for Nocturns, Mattins, Vespers, Hours and Compline.
 3) The Psalter contains the psalms in the same order as they are found in the Bible (Septuagint version) but divided into twenty sections or kathismas, each of which is subdivided into three glories. [Daily two kathismas are read at Mattins and one at Vespers, except on Sunday evening - in this way the whole Psalter is read in churche very week. During Great Lent, kathismas are also appointed on the Hours, so that then the Psalter is read through twice in every week]. Besides the simple Psalter, a Psalter with appendices also contains the Hours, and often Psalters are published with special prayers for the departed, because the Psalter is read over the departed when they are awaiting burial.
 4) The Octoechos contains the verses, canons, troparia and contakia and other hymns which are chanted during the various church services for each day of the week, and for each of the 
musical tones. [In this way, there is an eight week cycle of services for every day of the week corresponding to the eight tones].
 5) The Menaion contains materials similar to the Octoechos (troparia, contakia, canons and hymns), but in this case in the order that they are appointed for the festivals and saints’ day 
for each day of the month. Thus this “book” is published in twelve separate volumes, one for each month of the year. 
 6) The General Menaion is a similar service book with services for various types of saints (Hierarchs, Martyrs, Monastic Saints), with no reference to particular days or dates. It can be used to chant a service for a Saint to whom no specific service has yet been composed. 

7) The Lenten Triodion contains the changeable parts of the services for pre-lenten and lenten days, from the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee until the eve of Pascha itself, and the Pentecostarion (called rather romantically in Russian the Flowery Triodion) continues the same from the day of Pascha until the Sunday of All Saints (that immediately after Pentecost Sunday). The word Triodion, with reference to the Lenten Triodion, refers to the fact that the canons during that period have only three odes, as opposed to the usual eight.

 8) The Heirmologion contains the heirmoses (the initial hymns on each ode of the canons) and other hymns pertaining to the chanting in church.
9) The Typicon or Rule for the most part contains the regulations for the ordering of the Divine services for the various days and times of the day, how the prayers and hymns found in the Service Book, Book of Hours, Octoechos and other books are ordered, how they are to be read or chanted.
 10) The Book of Needs contains the services and prayers for the “needs” of the faithful, whether individuals or collectively. In it one finds the services for the various Mysteria (sacraments), the burial services, the blessing of water, the monastic tonsure, the consecration of churches and many other blessings and prayers. 

 [Here Fr Alexander does not mention the Apostle Book and the Gospel Book. The former includes the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles. The latter contains the four Gospels. In the Greek version and the translations from it, the lections are set forth individually as they are read at the Divine services. In the Slavonic version and the translation from that, the text is set forth as in the New Testament, but with marked footnotes, indicating how individual sections are begun, and the days on which they are used. So the Slavonic version may be used for the Divine services or read straight through. The Apostle Book also contains the prokeimena and Alleluia verses for the Divine Liturgy.]

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