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Christmas Services

Landon77

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About how long does the Christmas vigil last?  This is my first Christmas service in the eastern rite, so I'm used to the idea of a Midnight Mass, but the parish I'm going to starts its vigil pretty early- 6:30.
 

Fr. George

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Hmmm... This year and last year are a-typical as far as the Typikon goes because Christmas falls on a Sunday or Monday... I don't know if this is going to change the routine or not for the Church you are attending.

I suppose this would be a good point to mention what I'm referring to and why it's important.  On the years when Christmas falls on Tue-Sat, the Typikon calls for 2 Liturgies: Vesperal Liturgy (Christmas Eve at night) and Matins Liturgy (Christmas Day morning) - just as it does for Epiphany and Pascha.  However, when Theophany and Christmas fall on Sunday or Monday, (according to the Typikon of Constantinople) there is to be no Christmas Eve night Liturgy, but instead a Christmas Eve morning Liturgy (different hymns, therefore), Great Vespers Christmas Eve night, and normal Matins Liturgy Christmas Day. 

The reason is this: according to the tradition of the Church of Constantinople, one is not permitted to do the strictest of fasting (i.e. no eating at all) on any Sunday, and only one Saturday (Holy and Great Saturday) of the year - Saturdays and Sundays are seen as joyous days and occasions, which is why kneeling used to be frowned upon those days, and fasting rules are different for those days, even in Great Lent.

Thus, the Church will not have Divine Liturgies on a Saturday or Sunday night in order to not have people abstaining from food on these days.  WHen Christmas falls on a Sunday or Monday, a Christmas Eve night liturgy would fall the evening of a Saturday or Sunday, and thus people would need to abstain from food on those days - a big no-no.  So, the Church in her wisdom has made the Christmas cycle of services fall on different days during this period to compensate.

The other catch is this: normally the Royal Hours are done Christmas Eve morning.  However, when Christmas falls on a Sunday or Monday they are done on Friday morning.  I have no explanation for this.  (My parish priest also discovered that one is not permitted to do Liturgy the morning that one has Royal Hours, according to the Typikon of Constantinople.  Weird.)
 

Anastasios

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Well at our cathedral vigil lasts for 5 hours (Compline, Matins, Liturgy) from 1030 pm to 330am, but obviously we are not the average parish in America. LOL It's great though--I really love the liturgical progression.
 

scamandrius

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Anastasios said:
Well at our cathedral vigil lasts for 5 hours (Compline, Matins, Liturgy) from 1030 pm to 330am, but obviously we are not the average parish in America. LOL It's great though--I really love the liturgical progression.
Anastasios,

Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't you Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox?  If not, forgive my assumption, but if so, I thought according to the Greek Typicon, the Vigil consisted of both Vespers and Matins and Great Compline not used.

And does anyone know why the Slavs use Great Compline while Antioch and Constantinople use Vespers and skip Compline?  I'd like to know.

Also, a question for those who follow the Greek-Antiochian typicons.  At Great Vespers this Saturday night for the Sunday of Genalogy, the Glory and Both Now for the Aposticha are appointed to be sung in Tone 2, according to the Menaion from HTM, yet the Arabic and English prayer books call for Tone 8.  Which one should I follow?  I know, I know...ask my priest. ;D

Thanks.

Scamandrius
 

Fr. George

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Well, if the text of the hymn is different in Arabic/English, then that would explain the difference.

The Typikon of the Great Church says:  (www.ec-patr.org/gr/typikon/2006/2006-12-24.htm)

[quote author="Typikon of the Great Church of Christ"]
Ἀπόστιχα: (... I cut this part out ...)
Δόξα: Τό Ἰδιόμελον τῶν Προφητῶν· «Χαίρετε, Προφῆται τίμιοι...».
Καί νῦν: Τό Προεόρτιον Ἰδιόμελον· «Ἰδού καιρός ἤγγικε...», ζήτει ταῦτα εἰς τό Δόξα, Καί νῦν, τῶν Ἀποστίχων τῆς Κυριακῆς πρό τῶν Χριστουγέννων.. [/quote]

When consulting the Menaion, they are in 2nd Tone (not by order of the Typikon - that's just how they were written).

Here is the english text of the two above-mentioned hymns (http://www.anastasis.org.uk/sunbefnatV.htm)

Aposticha (...)

Glory. Tone 2. By Cyprian.

Hail honoured Prophets, who excellently ordered the Law of the Lord and by your faith appeared as indestructible, unshakeable pillars; for you were seen as the mediators of the New Testament of Christ; and now that you have passed over into heaven, implore him to grant peace to the world and to save our souls.

Both Now. Forefeast. Same Tone.

See, the time of salvation is at hand; Cave prepare, the Virgin draws near to give birth. Bethlehem, land of Juda, rejoice and be glad, for our Lord has dawned from you. Hearken, mountains and hills, and the countries around Judea; for Christ is coming to save mankind whom he fashioned, for he loves mankind.
Part of the confusion may occur because we have overlapping feasts: The Resurrection (which is not being chanted at all this year, btw), the forefeast, the forefathers.
 

arimethea

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scamandrius said:
Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't you Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox?  If not, forgive my assumption, but if so, I thought according to the Greek Typicon, the Vigil consisted of both Vespers and Matins and Great Compline not used.

And does anyone know why the Slavs use Great Compline while Antioch and Constantinople use Vespers and skip Compline?  I'd like to know.
Ahh the fun and confusion of the Great Feast and the Typikon. As Cleveland was explaining about the order of the feast since it falls on a Monday this year this also effects the order of the Vigil. When the feast allows for the Liturgy of St. Basil to be served the Vespers is part of that service so The Vigil then includes Great Compline to fill void. It was very rare to have the complete Christmas Vigil served in many Antiochian and Greek parishes in this country because believe it or not Christmas isn't the big feast in this cycle but rather Theophany is. Up until 15 years ago it was common to just have a vesperal liturgy served in many Antiochian parishes. Christmas became a big holiday in Russia because of the close ties to the European monarchy during the Victorian period but in the Mediterranean Theophany remained the bigger celebration.

So what you find in most Greek and Antiochian parishes is here in this country today for this year would be:

Friday - Royal Hours
Saturday - Nothing
Sunday (Christmas Eve) - am Liturgy (Sunday before Nativity), pm Vespers
Late Sunday night or Monday morning - Orthros and Liturgy

When Christmas would fall on a Tues - Sat the order is usually in a parish:

Christmas Eve - am Royal Hours and Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil,
Christmas Day - (many times this cycle is started late at night on the eve) Orthros and Liturgy

the full cycle for this year would be the following:
Friday - Royal Hours
Saturday - the usual Saturday cycle
Sunday -  the usual Sunday cycle, little Vespers in the afternoon, late in the evening Vigil consisting of Vespers, and Orthros
Monday - (immediately after the vigil) Liturgy

When Christmas would fall on a Tues - Sat the full order would be:

Christmas Eve - Royal Hours and Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil, The Vigil the consists of Great Compline, Litya, and Orthros completed with the Festal Liturgy.

This reflects the Greek and Antiochian practice, and to be honest I am not sure how this differs from the Russian practice.

 

sdcheung

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Reason why OCA and Russians keep Compline is because of the "God is with us" Prayers, they have a special attachment to it. Also the two Canons of the Nativity one for Complines and the other for Matins. And as I mentioned before they have a special attachment to this..

Choir:  God is with us, understand, O ye nations, and submit yourselves: for God is with us. (Twice, if there are two choirs)

Reader:  Hearken ye unto the ends of the earth.

Choir: FOR GOD IS WITH US.

For if ye again strengthen yourselves, ye shall again be vanquished.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

And whatsoever counsel ye shall take, the Lord shall bring it to nought.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

And the word, whatsoever ye speak, shall not remain with you.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

And of your fear we shall be neither afraid nor in dread.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

But the Lord our God, Him will we hallow, and he shall be fear unto us.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

And if I be trusting in Him, He shall be unto me sanctification.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

And I will be hoping in Him, and shall be saved by Him.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

The people that walk in darkness have seen a great light.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

Ye that dwell in the region and shadow of death, a light shall shine upon you.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

Whose government is upon His shoulder.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

And of His peace there is no end.

FOR GOD IS WITH US.

            And His name shall be called Angel of Great Counsel.

            FOR GOD IS WITH US.

            Wonderful Counselor.

            FOR GOD IS WITH US.

            Mighty God, Ruler, Prince of Peace.

            FOR GOD IS WITH US.

            Father of the age to come.

            FOR GOD IS WITH US.

            Choir: God is with us, understand, O ye nations, and submit yourselves: for God is with us. (Twice, if there are two choirs)

            Reader: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

            Choir: God is with us.

            Reader:  Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

            Choir: God is with us.  For God is with us!



            And immediately these troparia:



            Choir:  The day being past, I give Thee thanks, O Lord; * the evening, I pray, together with the night * without sin grant me, O Savior, * and save me.

            Glory to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Spirit.

            The day being past, I glorify Thee, O Master; * the evening, I pray, together with the night * without temptation grant me, O Savior, * and save me.

            Both now and ever, * and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

            The day being past, I hymn Thee, O Holy One; * the evening, I pray, together with the night * without peril grant me, O Savior, * and save me.



Nativity and Theophany

[a] If the Feast falls on a Day other than Sunday and Monday:

On The Paramony:
Evening Aggregate: Ninth Hour – Vespers – Small Complines;
Dawn Aggregate: Midnight Office – Orthros (Matins) – First Hour;
Midday Aggregate: Great Hours (Royal Hours) [1st Hour, 3rd Hour, 6th Hour, 9th Hour, and Typica] – Vespers combined with the Liturgy of Saint Basil, The Great.

On the Day of the Feast:
In Slavonic usage, The Evening and Dawn Aggregates are combined into All-Night-Vigil, to include Great Complines, Great Matins (Orthros), and First Hour. This Midday Aggregate includes the Third and Sixth Hours and the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom.

1) Royal Hours and Typica, Vespers with the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil, The Great, Great Blessing of Water
2) Matins/ 3rd and 6th Hours and Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chryostom

When the Feast falls on Sunday or Monday:

On the preceding Friday:
Evening Aggregate: Ninth Hour – Daily Vespers – Small Complines;
Dawn Aggregate: Midnight Office – Daily Matins (Orthros) – First Hour;
Midday Aggregate: Great Hours (Royal Hours) [1st Hour, 3rd Hour, 6th Hour, 9th Hour and Typika]

The Components of the aggregates for Saturday if the Feast falls on Sunday, and for both Saturday and Sunday if the Fast falls on Monday, are the same as those described  (in b, above) for days which have “Theos Kyrios”.

On the day of the Feast:

The Evening Aggregate (which in Slavonic Use begins at 1 P.M.) Includes Ninth Hour; and, Great Vespers with the Great Blessing of Waters. The Dawn and Midday Aggregates combine to, Include Midnight Office, Great Matins (Orthros), and the Liturgy of Saint Basil, the Great.

Friday: Royal Hours and Typica
Saturday: Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom and Great Vespers, All-Night Vigil (Complines and Matins)
Sunday: 3rd and 6th Hours/Matins and Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil, the Great.   
 

Landon77

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What is the difference in the liturgies of St. John and St. Basil?
 

Deacon Lance

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The strucutre of the Liturgy is the same but the Anaphora and several other prayers are different, but as most priests take them silently the people don't notice.  The biggest difference for them is they sing "In you o woman full of grace..." instead of "It is truly proper.." after the Epiclesis.

Fr. Deacon Lance
 
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