What traditions exist for this? I know in Chicago we would do them for Christmas, and I know that there is a tradition in the GOA that a newly ordained priest (or sometimes deacon) will do 40 liturgies in a row.
Any historical precedent, anyone know how this developed? Any local permutations?
I know of a dozen or so GOA parishes that celebrate the 40 liturgies during the Lent leading up to Christmas. Basically, in the most ethnic parishes.
It's also a pious custom for a newly ordained priest to serve 40 liturgies.
And, as far as I know, it's not an uncommon Greek and Slavic practice for pious families to request/pay for 40 Liturgies (or however many they could afford) to be celebrated for their newly departed relative. This is often related to ideas about the soul after death.