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Author Topic: Bridegroom Service  (Read 2293 times) Average Rating: 0
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serb1389
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« on: March 26, 2007, 12:14:46 AM »

Does anyone know the history behind the Bridegroom Service? 

Where does it originate? 

Who put it together?

When did it start being used?

Where did it start being used? 

Developments of it throughout history? 

---------------------------------------------------------

Also, does such a service exist in the OO churches? 

I did a quick search on the site and Mor Ephraim made some comments on the Bridegroom Matins service, back in 2003.  So I figure that something like it exists in the OO churches, but I thought i'd ask "officially"  Wink

What about in the Roman Catholic church?
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2007, 06:41:00 PM »

I'm interested to hear about this too. I had never heard of it before seeing it on the church calendar this month. I still have so much to learn. 
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2007, 10:36:03 PM »

Here is a link to the Antiochian website with an article by Fr. Nabil Hanna that talks about the development of Holy Week in the Byzantine tradition.

http://www.antiochian.org/midwest/Articles/Development_of_Holy_Week_Services.htm

It does not address the original question directly but rather gives an overview. It is a long article so I can't post the entire text.
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serb1389
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2007, 11:31:51 PM »

Here is a link to the Antiochian website with an article by Fr. Nabil Hanna that talks about the development of Holy Week in the Byzantine tradition.

http://www.antiochian.org/midwest/Articles/Development_of_Holy_Week_Services.htm

It does not address the original question directly but rather gives an overview. It is a long article so I can't post the entire text.

I looked through the article and found a part that I thought was most pertanent to our question: 

Quote
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

On the first three days of Holy Week, the full cycle of offices is prescribed, with distribution of Presanctified Gifts after vespers. One indication of the ancient order of these services is the instruction to offer incense with a katzion, a hand censer, instead of the modern censers on chains.

After his entry into Jerusalem, Christ spoke to the disciples about signs that would precede the Last Day (Mt. 24-25). Eschatological themes show up in the troparion of the Bridegroom and the exaposteilarion "I see thy bridal chamber…" at matins. The parables of the Ten Virgins and of the Talents pervade these three days.20 On Monday we also remember the innocent suffering of the Patriarch Joseph as a type of Christ’s. The barren fig tree which Jesus cursed serves as a reminder of coming judgment. Wednesday contrasts the agreement made by Judas with the Jewish authorities to repentance with tears of the sinful woman. The Triodion texts making it clear that Judas’ fall was not so much because of his betrayal as his despair of forgiveness.

Since we understand healing and forgiveness in a holistic manner, without a soul versus body dualism, the sacrament of Holy Unction is served in many parishes on Holy Wednesday evening. This practice provides an example of a continuing evolution, a practice which is not prescribed in the Triodion or typicon. In many parishes, this sacrament replaces celebration of Holy Thursday matins.

In parish churches today, in order to schedule the services to be more accessible to attendance by the faithful, they are often served "by anticipation." For example, the typicon prescribes matins to be served at 1 a.m. This is, therefore, anticipated and the service started the evening before. This then pushes the other hours forward, such that vespers and the Presanctified Liturgy are served in the morning.

This gives us at least a theological background to the Bridegroom Services. 
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2007, 10:53:20 AM »

Robert Taft is pretty much the only scholar who has done readily accessible work in English on your specific questions. See "In the Bridegroom's Absence: The Paschal Triduum in the Byzantine Church," in Studia Anelmiana, Anelecta Liturgica, vol. 102 (1990), pp. 71-97.

In general, it seems that the services of Holy Week maintained more elements of the Asmatic tradition for a longer time than other services and liturgies, and this may have caused several peculiar shifts in order and the timing of the services. One could say it was the last battle ground between the Asmatic and Monastic traditions. Fr. Calivas has a number of things to say on this topic (and some explanation of the Bridegroom Service) in his Great Week and Pascha In the Greek Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2007, 07:27:04 PM »

In general, it seems that the services of Holy Week maintained more elements of the Asmatic tradition for a longer time than other services and liturgies, and this may have caused several peculiar shifts in order and the timing of the services. One could say it was the last battle ground between the Asmatic and Monastic traditions. Fr. Calivas has a number of things to say on this topic (and some explanation of the Bridegroom Service) in his Great Week and Pascha In the Greek Orthodox Church.

What is the Asmatic tradition? 

Thanks for the referances. 
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2007, 07:41:05 PM »

Serb1389,
"Bridegroom Service" is a popular name given to what is actually the Matins of Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  As such it is not a special, distinct service.  It is "nothing" more than Matins.  (Just like the Matins of Holy Friday - served in anticipation on Holy Thursday evening - is sometimes called the Passion Service or the Reading of the Twelve Gospels.)  The name derives from the Tropar (Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight) which is sung after the Alleluia.  The Alleluia and its accompanying verses replace the usual "God is the Lord" of Matins.  The replacement of God is the Lord by the Alleluia occurs on weekdays not only during the Great Fast but also during other Lenten periods (depending on the commemoration of the day).
The Tropar (Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight) is based on Matthew 25:1-13.
I have seen, in some churches, a solemn procession during the singing of the Alleluia and Tropar with the Icon of The Bridegroom (also know as the Extreme Humility).  However, there is no mention of this custom in the Slavonic Triodion.  Also, the Slavonic Triodion gives no special name to this service except "The Matins of Holy Monday (or Tuesday, or Wednesday).  I cannot vouch for what the Greek Triodion says.
As for the date and origins of the hymns, that would require someone with a working knowledge of liturgical Greek and access to ancient manuscripts of the service spanning the centuries to compare the changes that occured.  However, like most of the service of Matins, the hymns were probably composed at different times and in different places and added to the service over centuries to give us what we know today as the "Bridegroom Service".
I hope this helps. 
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2007, 08:07:47 PM »

What is the Asmatic tradition?   
The Asmatic tradition is what is also known as the "Sung Rite" or the "Cathedral Rite".  Basically, the Cathedral Rite was the parochial services served at Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.  It consisted of "great theatrics" - the offering of incense, the lighting of candles, processions, and antiphonal and responsorial psalms with short refrains, easy to be memorized and sung by the average population.  Congregational participation was definitely encouraged.  This is in opposition to the "Monastic Rite" which consisted mainly (at first) of the recitation of the psalms interspersed with prayers.  The two rites remained basically distinct (of course, there was some borrowing and sharing back and forth) until the defeat of the iconoclast heresey, at which time the monks (who supported the iconophiles) started to gain the upper hand, thanks to their support of icons during that time.  By the time of the Latin occupation of Constantinople the cathedral rite was totally suppressed and the Byzantine Rite Liturgy of the Hours basically was the monastic rite with remnants of the cathedral rite interspersed throughout.
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2007, 08:19:06 PM »

I cannot vouch for what the Greek Triodion says.
I just looked it up, and the Greek Triodion also simply calls it "Orthros (Matins) of Great Monday/Tuesday etc." with the note that they served in anticipation on the preceding evening, and what's more, the rubrics don't mention the procession of the Icon of the Nymphios- so this must be a much later custom- like the procession of the Cross during the Service of the Twelve Gospels on Holy Thursday night, and the procession of the Epitaphios on Good Friday, neither of which are mentioned in the rubrics either. By the way, the Icon of the Nymphios and the Icon of Extreme Humility are different Icons. The Nymphios depicts John 19:5, whereas Extreme Humility (my current avatar) depicts Phillipians 2:6-11.

The Asmatic tradition is what is also known as the "Sung Rite" or the "Cathedral Rite".  Basically, the Cathedral Rite was the parochial services served at Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.  It consisted of "great theatrics" - the offering of incense, the lighting of candles, processions, and antiphonal and responsorial psalms with short refrains, easy to be memorized and sung by the average population.  Congregational participation was definitely encouraged.  This is in opposition to the "Monastic Rite" which consisted mainly (at first) of the recitation of the psalms interspersed with prayers.  The two rites remained basically distinct (of course, there was some borrowing and sharing back and forth) until the defeat of the iconoclast heresey, at which time the monks (who supported the iconophiles) started to gain the upper hand, thanks to their support of icons during that time.  By the time of the Latin occupation of Constantinople the cathedral rite was totally suppressed and the Byzantine Rite Liturgy of the Hours basically was the monastic rite with remnants of the cathedral rite interspersed throughout.
Thanks for that. I was curious too! I'd never heard the term "Asmatic" before.
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2007, 08:36:30 PM »

The Nymphios depicts John 19:5, whereas Extreme Humility (my current avatar) depicts Phillipians 2:6-11.
George,
Thanks for the clarification.  In the churches (of Slavic origin) at which I have attended Bridegroom Matins, they bring out the icon of Extreme Humility (your avatar) for this service and call it the Bridegroom icon.  But now that you mention it, last year, I attended the Nymphios Service at a local Greek church and they brought out an icon depicting Christ wearing the purple robe of mockery (John 19:5).
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2007, 10:16:30 PM »

Thanks all for your posts. 

I also was not aware that the Cathedral tradition was called the Asmatic tradition. 

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