• Please remember: Pray for Ukraine in the Prayer forum; Share news in the Christian News section; Discuss religious implications in FFA: Religious Topics; Discuss political implications in Politics (and if you don't have access, PM me) Thank you! + Fr. George, Forum Administrator

Psalm 50 at Matins - theory and practice

brlon

Sr. Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
Messages
160
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Location
UK
Faith
None
Jurisdiction
None
These are the verses specific for Palm Sunday, following Psalm 50, on Glory... Both now.... Have mercy on me O God .....

They replace 'Glory... Through the prayers of the Apostles.... ' 'Both now.... Through the prayers of the Theotokos....' 'Have mercy.... Jesus is risen from the grave....' sung at 'regular' Sunday matins (outside of the Great Fast).

There is no exapostilarion for Palm Sunday, although 'Holy is The Lord our God' is sung, as usual.
 

FULK NERA

Elder
Warned
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
424
Reaction score
356
Points
63
Location
North America
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
OCA
Psalm 50 sung in Romanian by Maria Coman and protopsaltis Gabriel Rădășanu.

Filmed at UNESCO World Heritage Site Hurezi Monastery.

This would be paraliturgical music, wouldn’t it? We don’t sing psalm 50 anywhere in the typikon I know of.
 

Dominika

Merarches
Staff member
Global Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Dec 23, 2011
Messages
8,497
Reaction score
870
Points
113
Age
31
Location
Poland
Website
www.youtube.com
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Antiochian Patriarchate/POC
This would be paraliturgical music, wouldn’t it? We don’t sing psalm 50 anywhere in the typikon I know of.
At Matins it can be read or chanted.
 

brlon

Sr. Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
Messages
160
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Location
UK
Faith
None
Jurisdiction
None
In this Youtube video from the Greek Church of the Dormition in Brooklyn, United States, the 50th Psalm is chanted rather than read.
Further to the above, this appears to be based on the setting in Tone 2 by the Protopsaltes Georgios Raidestinos (the second of that name: 1833-1889).
 

Cavaradossi

Archon
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
216
Points
63
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
AANA
This would be paraliturgical music, wouldn’t it? We don’t sing psalm 50 anywhere in the typikon I know of.
It is ordinarily appointed to be chanted on Sundays at matins in connection with the veneration of the gospel book. According to older monastic practice, this is done on every Sunday when the gospel is read at matins, regardless of which gospel passage is read. In modern parish practice, it is only chanted when one of the eleven eothina gospels is read.
 

FULK NERA

Elder
Warned
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
424
Reaction score
356
Points
63
Location
North America
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
OCA
It is ordinarily appointed to be chanted on Sundays at matins in connection with the veneration of the gospel book. According to older monastic practice, this is done on every Sunday when the gospel is read at matins, regardless of which gospel passage is read. In modern parish practice, it is only chanted when one of the eleven eothina gospels is read.
Not having been formed in Byzantine-Mediterranean ways of worship, I have never heard Ps. 50 ‘chanted’ as in sung according to Byzantine musical modes. In my current parish it is simply read at Matins after the Eothinon by the chanter; when it is done by the celebrating priest in other services he intones it simply, at a slightly more formal level of vocalization than the chanter does. What do Byzantine rubrics prescribe?
 

Ainnir

Merarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
8,539
Reaction score
1,599
Points
113
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Antiochian
It is read at my parish, too.
 

Cavaradossi

Archon
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
216
Points
63
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
AANA
Not having been formed in Byzantine-Mediterranean ways of worship, I have never heard Ps. 50 ‘chanted’ as in sung according to Byzantine musical modes. In my current parish it is simply read at Matins after the Eothinon by the chanter; when it is done by the celebrating priest in other services he intones it simply, at a slightly more formal level of vocalization than the chanter does. What do Byzantine rubrics prescribe?
At Sunday matins, psalm 50 is chanted, typically in second mode, but settings in plagal 4th (seemingly to match the pl 4th pentekostaria sung during lent) and grave mode also exist. This is evidently a relic of the cathedral rite, which had psalm 50 chanted in the mode of the week with hymns (called pentekostaria from the Greek word for 50) after in the same mode.

Here is an example of how the 50th psalm is sung in Greek in second mode.

During lent, you would follow with the pentekostaria "open unto me the doors of repentance," in plagal of the fourth mode "make straight for me the ways of salvation, O Theotokos," in the same mode and "when I the wretched one, consider the multitude of my terrible deeds," in plagal of the second mode, as in this recording.
 

FULK NERA

Elder
Warned
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
424
Reaction score
356
Points
63
Location
North America
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
OCA
At Sunday matins, psalm 50 is chanted, typically in second mode, but settings in plagal 4th (seemingly to match the pl 4th pentekostaria sung during lent) and grave mode also exist. This is evidently a relic of the cathedral rite, which had psalm 50 chanted in the mode of the week with hymns (called pentekostaria from the Greek word for 50) after in the same mode.

Here is an example of how the 50th psalm is sung in Greek in second mode.

During lent, you would follow with the pentekostaria "open unto me the doors of repentance," in plagal of the fourth mode "make straight for me the ways of salvation, O Theotokos," in the same mode and "when I the wretched one, consider the multitude of my terrible deeds," in plagal of the second mode, as in this recording.
Nice musical example. I can see how it would be useful to cover the time needed for parishioners to venerate the Gospel, especially since the chanting of canons has been elided in parish usage (accdg. to Violakis) for a couple centuries now.
 

Cavaradossi

Archon
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
216
Points
63
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
AANA
Nice musical example. I can see how it would be useful to cover the time needed for parishioners to venerate the Gospel, especially since the chanting of canons has been elided in parish usage (accdg. to Violakis) for a couple centuries now.
Though the singing of the 50th psalm certainly is older than the omission of the canons in parish practice (which is not a Violakis thing, by the way, as Violakis appoints the canons to be sung), so I imagine that's not quite its original purpose.
 

FULK NERA

Elder
Warned
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
424
Reaction score
356
Points
63
Location
North America
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
OCA
Though the singing of the 50th psalm certainly is older than the omission of the canons in parish practice (which is not a Violakis thing, by the way, as Violakis appoints the canons to be sung), so I imagine that's not quite its original purpose.
So when did the Greek church toss out the singing of canons? And is there any hope of restoring regular Sunday matins to the traditional order with or without them?
 

Cavaradossi

Archon
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
216
Points
63
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
AANA
So when did the Greek church toss out the singing of canons? And is there any hope of restoring regular Sunday matins to the traditional order with or without them?
To your first question, parish practice tends to be inconsistent. Regularly singing the entire canon has become quite rare. In some places, the 1st, 3rd, and 9th odes are sung, and the rest are read. Other places which do not have skilled psaltes may cut the canons entirely (this is very common in America). Part of the issue is that it takes a high level of skill and memorization work to be able to sing full canons well, and that level of skill is no longer common. The canon though has never been completely tossed, and its omission has never been codified according to the typikon.

To your second question, I assume you are talking about the placement of the gospel of Sunday matins (traditionally before the canons rather than after the 8th ode as Violakis appoints). In Greece, Protopresbyter Konstantinos Papayiannis' work, Σύστημα Τυπικοῦ (System of Typikon, which is a systematic treatment of the topic of typikon, synthesizing numerous sources into one unified typikon), has largely displaced Violakis, and it appoints the traditional placement of the gospel. Accordingly, the Diptychs of the Church of Greece, published annually by Apostoliki Diakonia, has in its liturgical notes the gospel placed before the canons. At this point, it is really only the ecumenical patriarchate and its churches in the diaspora which adhere to the placement of the gospel after the 8th ode.
 

brlon

Sr. Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
Messages
160
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Location
UK
Faith
None
Jurisdiction
None
Typikon Trivia (or, maybe, “Typika”), Matins, and Psalm 50 (apologies that these notes relate mainly to Russian and Slavic usage but do show that Psalm 50 is, in sometimes, chanted rather than being simply read.)

The Typikon of one major, important, Russian monastery provides for an 'evening prayer rule' and a 'morning prayer rule' of services. Outside the Great Fast and certain other days there are two regular forms for the evening rule.

1. On Sundays, feast days, and major saints days the 'all-night vigil' is served: ninth hour; small vespers; great vespers with lity; matins (beginning with the six psalms); first hour – then trapeza.

2. On other days: ninth hour; daily vespers (with dismissal); matins (commencing with the 'imperial beginning'); first hour - trapeza .

Either form takes roughly the same length of time, four to five hours. An all-night vigil may be served several times within a single week, depending upon the saints and feasts found in the menaion. When matins does not form part of the vigil, it may, nevertheless, include the polyelaios, Gospel reading, and great doxology, according to the requirements of the menaion.

At the vigil service, after the Resurrection Gospel, psalm 50 is chanted verse by verse by the two choirs, followed by 'glory... through the prayers...' etc and the prayer 'O God, save Thy people' and then the canons.

On other days, following the three kathismata and their hymns, the psalm is read, and then followed by the canons. When the third kathisma is the polyelaios (and magnification) continuing on into the Gospel reading, then, after 'glory to Thee O Lord', psalm 50 is read by the reader, and the singers resume with : 'glory... through the prayers....' etc.

In a great number of other places of Russian tradition it is often the custom to omit psalm 50 completely at vigil and to go from 'glory to Thee O Lord' (after the Gospel reading – and 'we have seen the Resurrection of Christ', if appointed) directly to 'glory... through the prayers...' etc. This includes many monasteries and cathedrals, as well as parishes.

For Sunday matins, not at a vigil, the Bulgarian Synodal Typikon (published Sofia, 1980) directs that after the Gospel 'we have seen the Resurrection of Christ...' is read (се чете) and then psalm 50 is sung/chanted (се пее).

If matins is part of the all-night vigil for a Sunday, however, after the Gospel the singers sing (певците пеят) 'glory to Thee O Lord, glory to Thee. We have seen the Resurrection of Christ...' and then immediately 'glory... through the prayers...' etc , so psalm 50 is apparently omitted.

At vigils on feasts of The Lord or of The Theotokos, following the Gospel the psalm is simply read (четецът прочита...) and then is sung (...певците пеят...) 'glory... through the prayers...' etc.

For 'daily' matins, that typikon directs that the psalm is read.
 

Cavaradossi

Archon
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
216
Points
63
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
AANA
Typikon Trivia (or, maybe, “Typika”), Matins, and Psalm 50 (apologies that these notes relate mainly to Russian and Slavic usage but do show that Psalm 50 is, in sometimes, chanted rather than being simply read.)

The Typikon of one major, important, Russian monastery provides for an 'evening prayer rule' and a 'morning prayer rule' of services. Outside the Great Fast and certain other days there are two regular forms for the evening rule.

1. On Sundays, feast days, and major saints days the 'all-night vigil' is served: ninth hour; small vespers; great vespers with lity; matins (beginning with the six psalms); first hour – then trapeza.

2. On other days: ninth hour; daily vespers (with dismissal); matins (commencing with the 'imperial beginning'); first hour - trapeza .

Either form takes roughly the same length of time, four to five hours. An all-night vigil may be served several times within a single week, depending upon the saints and feasts found in the menaion. When matins does not form part of the vigil, it may, nevertheless, include the polyelaios, Gospel reading, and great doxology, according to the requirements of the menaion.

At the vigil service, after the Resurrection Gospel, psalm 50 is chanted verse by verse by the two choirs, followed by 'glory... through the prayers...' etc and the prayer 'O God, save Thy people' and then the canons.

On other days, following the three kathismata and their hymns, the psalm is read, and then followed by the canons. When the third kathisma is the polyelaios (and magnification) continuing on into the Gospel reading, then, after 'glory to Thee O Lord', psalm 50 is read by the reader, and the singers resume with : 'glory... through the prayers....' etc.

In a great number of other places of Russian tradition it is often the custom to omit psalm 50 completely at vigil and to go from 'glory to Thee O Lord' (after the Gospel reading – and 'we have seen the Resurrection of Christ', if appointed) directly to 'glory... through the prayers...' etc. This includes many monasteries and cathedrals, as well as parishes.

For Sunday matins, not at a vigil, the Bulgarian Synodal Typikon (published Sofia, 1980) directs that after the Gospel 'we have seen the Resurrection of Christ...' is read (се чете) and then psalm 50 is sung/chanted (се пее).

If matins is part of the all-night vigil for a Sunday, however, after the Gospel the singers sing (певците пеят) 'glory to Thee O Lord, glory to Thee. We have seen the Resurrection of Christ...' and then immediately 'glory... through the prayers...' etc , so psalm 50 is apparently omitted.

At vigils on feasts of The Lord or of The Theotokos, following the Gospel the psalm is simply read (четецът прочита...) and then is sung (...певците пеят...) 'glory... through the prayers...' etc.

For 'daily' matins, that typikon directs that the psalm is read.
This pretty much describes Greek practice, with the exception of the omission of psalm 50 at vigil. The only time in Greek practice that the 50th psalm is omitted is during bright week, when the psalter in general is suppressed. Otherwise, the more conservative general rule (still seen in monastic practice) is that every Sunday has the singing of psalm 50 with the veneration of the gospel book, whereas on other days, psalm 50 is read without veneration of the gospel. The less conservative rule (practiced in parishes) is that psalm 50 is sung with veneration of the gospel book only when one of the 11 gospels of Sunday matins is read, and otherwise, psalm 50 is read without any veneration of the gospel (even if it be a Sunday).
 

FULK NERA

Elder
Warned
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
424
Reaction score
356
Points
63
Location
North America
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
OCA
To your first question, parish practice tends to be inconsistent. Regularly singing the entire canon has become quite rare. In some places, the 1st, 3rd, and 9th odes are sung, and the rest are read. Other places which do not have skilled psaltes may cut the canons entirely (this is very common in America). Part of the issue is that it takes a high level of skill and memorization work to be able to sing full canons well, and that level of skill is no longer common. The canon though has never been completely tossed, and its omission has never been codified according to the typikon.

To your second question, I assume you are talking about the placement of the gospel of Sunday matins (traditionally before the canons rather than after the 8th ode as Violakis appoints). In Greece, Protopresbyter Konstantinos Papayiannis' work, Σύστημα Τυπικοῦ (System of Typikon, which is a systematic treatment of the topic of typikon, synthesizing numerous sources into one unified typikon), has largely displaced Violakis, and it appoints the traditional placement of the gospel. Accordingly, the Diptychs of the Church of Greece, published annually by Apostoliki Diakonia, has in its liturgical notes the gospel placed before the canons. At this point, it is really only the ecumenical patriarchate and its churches in the diaspora which adhere to the placement of the gospel after the 8th ode.
I neglected to specify Greek Archdiocese of America. I have the impression that the Church of Greece maintains a pretty traditional typikon while GOARCH innovates at the direction of the Phanar.
The Greek practice of singing all the troparia of each mode, as opposed to the drier but more economical Russian-Slavic singing of only hirmoi and katavasiai and reading of troparia, would of course exhaust the talents, time and voices of chanters, which leads to the elision of the odes as is now practiced in GOARCH. They aren’t even offered in the rubrics promulgated by the archdiocese.
 

Cavaradossi

Archon
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
216
Points
63
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
AANA
I neglected to specify Greek Archdiocese of America. I have the impression that the Church of Greece maintains a pretty traditional typikon while GOARCH innovates at the direction of the Phanar.
I don't know if I would put it that way. The Phanar itself is in a sort of state of liturgical stasis, representing largely how things have been since the population exchanges robbed it of its vitality. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America gets a lot of its bad practices from the last large wave of Greek immigration to North America in the 1930s, not from the Phanar, and in some ways, it is more like a liturgical time capsule than an innovator. The situation in Greece is more the result of liturgical renewal and reinvention rather maintaining strict adherence to any particular typikon. Many people (even Greeks who should know better) seem to put the blame incorrectly on the Violakis typikon for practices which in reality have nothing to do with it.
 

FULK NERA

Elder
Warned
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
424
Reaction score
356
Points
63
Location
North America
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
OCA
I don't know if I would put it that way. The Phanar itself is in a sort of state of liturgical stasis, representing largely how things have been since the population exchanges robbed it of its vitality. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America gets a lot of its bad practices from the last large wave of Greek immigration to North America in the 1930s, not from the Phanar, and in some ways, it is more like a liturgical time capsule than an innovator. The situation in Greece is more the result of liturgical renewal and reinvention rather maintaining strict adherence to any particular typikon. Many people (even Greeks who should know better) seem to put the blame incorrectly on the Violakis typikon for practices which in reality have nothing to do with it.
I guess that stasis of bad usages from the 1930s seems like some kind of odd innovation for one coming from the Post-Schmemann OCA. Thanks for clarifying things. There seem to be a lot of Greek clergy still coming over here (half the priests seem to have thick accents). I wonder why they have no ability to revitalize the crummy rubrical usages. Seems to me to indicate the dead hand of hierarchs who don’t appreciate and moves toward restoration of norms.
One guy at my parish, whose family were Old Calendarists from Massachusetts said the services he remembers from his youth were a lot less different from what ’the Russians’ (ROCOR, OCA) still do than the way we now do them in the GOA. That is, that the GOA seems to be moving away from old norms that were more widely shared. He may be recalling the practices of Old Calendar parishes.
 

brlon

Sr. Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
Messages
160
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Location
UK
Faith
None
Jurisdiction
None
Here is psalm 50 sung to a 'standard' Russian chant at Svyatogorsk /Svyatohirsk Lavra, Palm Sunday All-Night Vigil, 2022 (note that Youtube may interrupt the video at this point with adverts):
Psalm 50, Palm Sunday, Svyatogorsk Lavra

And here is a variant of the chant sung by the Sretensky Monastery choir (Moscow), but in a concert performance (the psalm is usually omitted at vigil at this monastery - except on Palm Sunday, while the palms are censed!):
Псалм 50 (Psalm 51) - Хор Московского Сретенского монастыря - Moscow Sretensky monastery choir - YouTube
 

Shanghaiski

Merarches
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
8,253
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Age
43
Location
Wisconsin, USA
With regard to the chanting of the canons mentioned above, the Holy Transfiguration Monastery Menaion's introduction, if I recall, mentions that, for many melodies of canons, the ways of singing them have been lost to time. I'm not exactly sure how this is possible, but this reason, and the fact that the canons are not often chanted anymore, was HTM's reason for not putting the translations to meter. (It may be true, or it may just be that creating metrical translations of all that would need to be set to meter is too great a task to complete under their circumstances.)
 

FULK NERA

Elder
Warned
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
424
Reaction score
356
Points
63
Location
North America
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
OCA
There was this thing called the "Turkish Yoke" that lasted for centuries. That is a very likely reason.
And it ended a century ago. The fact that the Phanar doesn’t even publish a yearly rubrical book in English anymore (when they recently published one online) cannot be blamed on the proverbial Turk.

HTM not metering translated canon troparia makes sense because meter is unnecessary if they won’t be sung to a melodic system that demands it. Most of the non-Greek churches have adopted unmetered chant forms to facilitate this already, and common Russian practice is to simple read them recto tono. I’m sure the learned monks at HTM are not completely ignorant of various chant forms, such as Slavonic and Georgian, wholly autocthonous, and the Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian and Arabic systems that have kept Byzantine music forms despite translation out of Greek.
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
695
Reaction score
506
Points
93
Location
USA
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Antioch but secret ROCOR
That wasn't the issue at hand. It was how certain melodies haven't been passed down to modern times. Pump the brakes.
 

Cavaradossi

Archon
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
216
Points
63
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
AANA
With regard to the chanting of the canons mentioned above, the Holy Transfiguration Monastery Menaion's introduction, if I recall, mentions that, for many melodies of canons, the ways of singing them have been lost to time. I'm not exactly sure how this is possible, but this reason, and the fact that the canons are not often chanted anymore, was HTM's reason for not putting the translations to meter. (It may be true, or it may just be that creating metrical translations of all that would need to be set to meter is too great a task to complete under their circumstances.)
There are in fact hundreds of heirmoi, but only a frequently used subset of them appears in musical manuscripts and books, and so the melodies used with the rare ones (if there are any that are commonly used and not just extemporaneously improvised) are of unverifiable origin. That is really no excuse not to meter the canons in my opinion, but then if they had attempted to do that, they probably still wouldn't have published a set of menaia.

There was this thing called the "Turkish Yoke" that lasted for centuries. That is a very likely reason.
I actually doubt that is the reason. The sheer number of heirmoi and the fact that many of them were not written down is the likely culprit.
 

Shanghaiski

Merarches
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
8,253
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Age
43
Location
Wisconsin, USA
And, I would think, given that what has gotten written in books is only a fraction of what was known at the time, what was lost simply never got handed down to enough people.
 

CarolS

Elder
Joined
Dec 5, 2012
Messages
273
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Jurisdiction
Orthodox Church
And here is a variant of the chant sung by the Sretensky Monastery choir (Moscow), but in a concert performance (the psalm is usually omitted at vigil at this monastery - except on Palm Sunday, while the palms are censed!):
Псалм 50 (Psalm 51) - Хор Московского Сретенского монастыря - Moscow Sretensky monastery choir - YouTube
I understand that this melody is primarily used during Great Lent. At other times, Psalm 50 is often omitted at Matins in the Russian usage. However, Reader Joseph McClellan (later Archimandrite Joasaph), when he was teaching at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY, stated that Psalm 50 is an integral part of the service and should never be omitted.
 

Dominika

Merarches
Staff member
Global Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Dec 23, 2011
Messages
8,497
Reaction score
870
Points
113
Age
31
Location
Poland
Website
www.youtube.com
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Antiochian Patriarchate/POC
I understand that this melody is primarily used during Great Lent.
I'm not so sure...

BTW, at my Polish Orthodox parish psalm 50 is read (and not chanted) fully at Matins only on some occassions, like Palm Sunday or spiritual retreat, and maybe a few more, now I don't remember.
 
Top