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Author Topic: lights on and off during russian vespers  (Read 2169 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 08, 2012, 07:20:59 PM »

i went to a russian orthodox vespers today  Smiley and want to ask what is the symbolism of the dimming of the lights?
it happened 3 times for about 15 minutes each and i couldn't follow everything that was happening.
i don't think there was a partial loss of power, i think it was intentional!

it was lovely. though and we were all anointed with a huge blob of oil towards the end.
(it still smells)
 Smiley
it was about 1/3 in english, so i was slightly lost!
it was longer than the coptic vespers  Shocked which was impressive!
i think it was because it is the feast of saint john the evangelist tomorrow (9th).
greetings to all those here from a slavic church
 Cheesy
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 08:02:00 PM »

I can only think that it reminds me of Great and Holy Friday, but of course it can't be that. Sad
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2012, 09:24:55 PM »

Sounds like rose oil - that is really strong and I came across that  in a few Russian churches over the years. Don't know about the lights.... We turn them off before the readings at Presanctified and turn them on when the priest entones about the light...and we begin the Paschal matins in the dark, but that's about it in our little corner of the Slavic world.... There really isn't a uniform 'slavic' practice as the Russians, Serbs, Bulgars, Ukrainians etc... all have their own little quirky things - not to mention little quirky things this priest or that priest or this parish or that parish follow!
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2012, 09:28:43 PM »

In my parish we have the lights off for Vespers until "O Gladsome Light" at which point we switch them on.
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2012, 09:33:31 PM »

Here is an explanation of the meaning and significance of the Vespers service:

Quote
Vespers recalls and represents events of the Old Testament: the creation of the world, the fall into sin of the first human beings, their expulsion from Paradise, their repentance and prayer for salvation, the hope of mankind in accordance with the promise of God for a Saviour, and finally, the fulfillment of that promise.

The Vespers of an All Night Vigil begins with the opening of the Royal Gates. The priest and deacon silently cense the Altar Table and the entire sanctuary, so that clouds of incense fill the depths of the sanctuary. This silent censing represents the beginning of the creation of the world. In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was without form and void, and the Spirit of God hovered over the original material earth, breathing upon it a life-creating power, but the creating word of God had not yet begun to resound.

The priest then stands before the Altar and intones the first exclamation to the glory of the Creator and Founder of the world, the Most Holy Trinity: "Glory to the Holy, Consubstantial, Life-creating, and Indivisible Trinity, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages."

He then summons the faithful four times, "O come, let us worship God our King. O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God. O come let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and our God. O come let us worship and fall down before Him." "For All things were made by Him; and without him was not anything made that was made (John 1:3)."

In response to this summons, the choir solemnly chants the 103rd Psalm, which describes the creation of the world and glorifies the wisdom of God: "Bless the Lord, O my soul. Blessed art Thou, O Lord; O Lord my God, Thou hast been magnified exceedingly...In wisdom hast Thou made them all...Wondrous are Thy works, O Lord... Glory to Thee, O Lord, Who hast made them all." During the chanting of this psalm the priest goes forth from the sanctuary. He completes the censing of the entire church and the faithful therein, while a deacon precedes him bearing a lit candle in his hand. This sacred action calls to the mind of those praying the creation of the world; but it is to remind them primarily of the blessed life in Paradise of the first human beings, when the Lord God Himself walked among them. The open Royal Gates signify that at that time the gates of Paradise were open for all mankind.

When man was deceived by the Devil and transgressed against the will of God, he fell into sin. Because of this fall, man was deprived of his blessed life in Paradise. He was driven out of Paradise and the gates were closed. To symbolize this expulsion, after the censing of the church and the chanting of the psalm, the Royal Gates are closed.

The deacon then comes out from the sanctuary and stands before the closed Royal Gates, as Adam stood before the sealed entrance of Paradise, and intones the Great Litany: "In peace let us pray to the Lord." In other words, let us pray to the Lord when we have been reconciled with all our neighbors, so that we feel no anger or hostility towards them. "For the peace from above, and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord." That is to say, let us pray that the Lord send down upon us "from on high" the peace of Heaven, and that He save our souls.

After the Great Litany and the exclamation of the priest, certain selected verses are usually sung from the first three psalms of the Psalter: "Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly." Blessed is he who has not lived or acted on the advice of those who are irreverent and impious. "For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, and the way of the ungodly shall perish." For the Lord knows the life of the righteous and the life of the impious leads to ruin. The deacon then intones the Little Litany, "Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord..."

After this litany, the choir chants the verses of certain psalms that express the longing of man for salvation and Paradise: "Lord, I have cried unto Thee, hearken unto me. Hearken unto me, O Lord...Attend to the voice of my supplication, when I cry unto Thee...Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Hearken unto me, O Lord." During the chanting of these verses, the deacon censes the church once more.

Up to this point, the divine service, from the beginning of the closing of the Royal Gates, through the petitions of the Great Ectenia and the chanting of the psalms, represents the miserable state of mankind was subject to by the fall of our forefathers into sin. With the fall, all the deprivations, pains and sufferings we experience came into our lives. We cry out to God, "Lord, have mercy," and request peace and salvation for our souls. We feel contrition that we heeded the ungodly counsel of the Devil. We ask God to forgive our sins and deliver us from troubles; we place all our hope in His mercy. Thus, the censing by the deacon during the chanting of the psalm signifies both the sacrifices of the Old Testament and the prayers we are offering to God.

Alternating with the chanting of the Old Testament verses of the psalm "Lord, I have cried" are New testament hymns composed in honor of the saint or feast of the day. The last verse is called the Theotokion, or Dogmatikon, since it is sung in honor of the Mother of God. In it is set forth the dogma on the incarnation of the Son of God from the Virgin Mary. On the twelve great feasts, a special verse in honor of the feast is chanted in place of the Theotokion.

During the chanting of the Theotokion the Royal Gates are opened, and the Vespers Entry is made; a candle bearer comes through the north door of the Sanctuary, followed by the deacon with the censer, and finally the priest. The priest stops on the ambo facing the Royal Gates and blesses the entry with the sign of the Cross; after the intoning of the words "Wisdom, let us attend!" by the deacon, the priest and the deacon reenters the Altar together through the Royal Gates. The priest goes to stand next to the High Place behind the Holy Table.

At this time the choir chants a hymn to the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ: "O Gentle Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy blessed Father, O Jesus Christ: having come to the setting of the sun, having beheld the evening light, we praise the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: God. Meet it is for Thee at all times to be hymned with reverent voices, O Son of God, Giver of Life. Wherefore, the world doth glorify Thee."

In this hymn, the Son of God is called the Gentle Light that comes from the Heavenly Father, for He came to this earth not in the fullness of divine glory but in the gentle radiance of this glory. This hymn also says that only with reverent voices, and not our sinful mouths, can He be glorified and exalted worthily.

The entry during Vespers reminds the faithful how the Old Testament righteous, in harmony with the promise of God that was manifest in prototypes and prophecies, expected the coming of the Saviour, and how He appeared in the world for the salvation of the human race.

The censer with incense used at the entry signifies that our prayers, by the intercession of our Lord the Saviour, are offered to God like incense. It also signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit in the church.

The blessing with the sign of the Cross shows that by means of the Cross of the Lord the doors into Paradise are opened again for us.

Following the chanting of the hymn "O Gentle Light..." we sing the prokeimenon, short verses taken from the Holy Scriptures. On Saturday evening, for the Vespers for Sunday, we chant, "The Lord is King; He is clothed with majesty."

After the chanting of the prokeimenon, on the more important feasts there are readings. These are selections from the Scriptures in which there is a prophecy or a prototype which relates to the event being celebrated, or in which edifying teachings are set forth, which relate to the saint commemorated that day.

Following the prokeimenon and readings the deacon intones the Augmented Litany, "Let us all say with our whole soul and with our whole mind, let us say." The prayer, "Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this evening without sin..." follows, and at the conclusion of this prayer the deacon reads the Supplicatory Litany, "Let us complete our evening prayer unto the Lord..."

On great feasts after the Augmented and Supplicatory Litanies the Litia, or Blessing of Bread and Wine, is celebrated.

"Litia" is a Greek word meaning "common prayer." The Litia, a series of verses chanted by the choir followed by an enumeration of many saints whose prayers are besought, is celebrated in the western end of the church, near the main entrance doors, or in the Narthex, if the church is so arranged. This part of the service was intended for those who were standing in the Narthex, the catechumens and penitents, so they might be able to take part in the common service on the occasions of the major festivals.

At the end of the Litia is the blessing and sanctification of five loaves of bread, wheat, wine and oil to recall the ancient custom of providing food for those assembled who had come some distance, in order to give them strength during the long divine services. The five loaves are blessed to recall the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves of bread. Later, during the main part of Matins, the priest anoints the faithful with the sanctified oil, after they have venerated the festal icon.

After the Litia, or if it is not served, after the Supplicatory Litany, the Aposticha (Verses with hymns) are chanted. These are a few verses which are specially written in memory of the occasion.

Vespers ends with the reading of the prayer of St. Simeon the GodReceiver, "Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, O Master, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; a light of revelation for the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel." This prayer is followed by the reading of the Trisagion and the Lord's Prayer, and the singing of the salutation of the Theotokos, "O Theotokos and Virgin, Rejoice! or the troparion of the feast, and finally the thricechanted prayer of the Psalmist: "Blessed be the name of the Lord from henceforth and for evermore." The 33rd Psalm is then read or chanted until the verse, "But they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good thing." Then follows the priestly blessing, "The blessing of the Lord be upon you, through His grace and love for mankind, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages."

The conclusion of Vespers with the prayer of St. Simeon and the angelic salutation of the Theotokos indicates the fulfillment of the divine promise of a Saviour.

Immediately after the conclusion of Vespers during an All Night Vigil, Matins begins with the reading of the Six Psalms.
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2012, 09:43:33 PM »

... continued ...

From memory, the lights are on from the opening priestly exclamation. The lights are turned off after Psalm 102. They are turned on again at O Gladsome Light, then off again at the OT readings, through the Litia, and Apostikha, until the festal troparion. They remain on during the rest of Vespers, which concludes with the Song of Symeon the Righteous (Now let Your servant depart in peace ...), the blessing of bread, wine and oil (if appointed for that day), and the dismissal.

If Matins is to follow immediately afterwards, as when a full Vigil is served for high-ranking feasts, the lights are turned off again after the introduction to the Six Psalms (Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace ...).

Matins also has a sequence of "lights on" and "lights off".
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 09:45:40 PM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2012, 09:48:45 PM »

... continued ...

From memory, the lights are on from the opening priestly exclamation. The lights are turned off after Psalm 102. They are turned on again at O Gladsome Light, then off again at the OT readings, through the Litia, and Apostikha, until the festal troparion. They remain on during the rest of Vespers, which concludes with the Song of Symeon the Righteous (Now let Your servant depart in peace ...), the blessing of bread, wine and oil (if appointed for that day), and the dismissal.

If Matins is to follow immediately afterwards, as when a full Vigil is served for high-ranking feasts, the lights are turned off again after the introduction to the Six Psalms (Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace ...).

Matins also has a sequence of "lights on" and "lights off".

Since there were no lights until the end of the 19th century which could be easily 'turned off and turned on' - were candles similarly lit and relit etc. or was this an innovation like the neon tube lights one comes across in east Europe over the Royal Doors proclaiming Christos Voskres and/or Christos Razdajetsja...which were even found in some older churches in the USA.
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2012, 09:56:16 PM »

... continued ...

From memory, the lights are on from the opening priestly exclamation. The lights are turned off after Psalm 102. They are turned on again at O Gladsome Light, then off again at the OT readings, through the Litia, and Apostikha, until the festal troparion. They remain on during the rest of Vespers, which concludes with the Song of Symeon the Righteous (Now let Your servant depart in peace ...), the blessing of bread, wine and oil (if appointed for that day), and the dismissal.

If Matins is to follow immediately afterwards, as when a full Vigil is served for high-ranking feasts, the lights are turned off again after the introduction to the Six Psalms (Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace ...).

Matins also has a sequence of "lights on" and "lights off".

Since there were no lights until the end of the 19th century which could be easily 'turned off and turned on' - were candles similarly lit and relit etc. or was this an innovation like the neon tube lights one comes across in east Europe over the Royal Doors proclaiming Christos Voskres and/or Christos Razdajetsja...which were even found in some older churches in the USA.

In those days or regions where there were no electric lights, all lamps and candles were put out and relit. The only ones which remained lit would be the seven-light candelabra behind the altar, and the lamps on the iconostasis over the Royal Doors, and the icons of Christ, the Mother of God, and the patron saint or feast of the church. IIRC, the central chandelier was also left on, if it couldn't be raised and lowered easily.
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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2012, 10:11:21 PM »

... continued ...

From memory, the lights are on from the opening priestly exclamation. The lights are turned off after Psalm 102. They are turned on again at O Gladsome Light, then off again at the OT readings, through the Litia, and Apostikha, until the festal troparion. They remain on during the rest of Vespers, which concludes with the Song of Symeon the Righteous (Now let Your servant depart in peace ...), the blessing of bread, wine and oil (if appointed for that day), and the dismissal.

If Matins is to follow immediately afterwards, as when a full Vigil is served for high-ranking feasts, the lights are turned off again after the introduction to the Six Psalms (Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace ...).

Matins also has a sequence of "lights on" and "lights off".

Since there were no lights until the end of the 19th century which could be easily 'turned off and turned on' - were candles similarly lit and relit etc. or was this an innovation like the neon tube lights one comes across in east Europe over the Royal Doors proclaiming Christos Voskres and/or Christos Razdajetsja...which were even found in some older churches in the USA.

We also blow out the candles at those points and then relight them.
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2012, 02:06:04 AM »

Here is an explanation of the meaning and significance of the Vespers service:

Quote
Vespers recalls and represents events of the Old Testament: the creation of the world, the fall into sin of the first human beings, their expulsion from Paradise, their repentance and prayer for salvation, the hope of mankind in accordance with the promise of God for a Saviour, and finally, the fulfillment of that promise.

The Vespers of an All Night Vigil begins with the opening of the Royal Gates. The priest and deacon silently cense the Altar Table and the entire sanctuary, so that clouds of incense fill the depths of the sanctuary. This silent censing represents the beginning of the creation of the world. In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was without form and void, and the Spirit of God hovered over the original material earth, breathing upon it a life-creating power, but the creating word of God had not yet begun to resound.

The priest then stands before the Altar and intones the first exclamation to the glory of the Creator and Founder of the world, the Most Holy Trinity: "Glory to the Holy, Consubstantial, Life-creating, and Indivisible Trinity, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages."

He then summons the faithful four times, "O come, let us worship God our King. O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God. O come let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and our God. O come let us worship and fall down before Him." "For All things were made by Him; and without him was not anything made that was made (John 1:3)."

In response to this summons, the choir solemnly chants the 103rd Psalm, which describes the creation of the world and glorifies the wisdom of God: "Bless the Lord, O my soul. Blessed art Thou, O Lord; O Lord my God, Thou hast been magnified exceedingly...In wisdom hast Thou made them all...Wondrous are Thy works, O Lord... Glory to Thee, O Lord, Who hast made them all." During the chanting of this psalm the priest goes forth from the sanctuary. He completes the censing of the entire church and the faithful therein, while a deacon precedes him bearing a lit candle in his hand. This sacred action calls to the mind of those praying the creation of the world; but it is to remind them primarily of the blessed life in Paradise of the first human beings, when the Lord God Himself walked among them. The open Royal Gates signify that at that time the gates of Paradise were open for all mankind.

When man was deceived by the Devil and transgressed against the will of God, he fell into sin. Because of this fall, man was deprived of his blessed life in Paradise. He was driven out of Paradise and the gates were closed. To symbolize this expulsion, after the censing of the church and the chanting of the psalm, the Royal Gates are closed.

The deacon then comes out from the sanctuary and stands before the closed Royal Gates, as Adam stood before the sealed entrance of Paradise, and intones the Great Litany: "In peace let us pray to the Lord." In other words, let us pray to the Lord when we have been reconciled with all our neighbors, so that we feel no anger or hostility towards them. "For the peace from above, and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord." That is to say, let us pray that the Lord send down upon us "from on high" the peace of Heaven, and that He save our souls.

After the Great Litany and the exclamation of the priest, certain selected verses are usually sung from the first three psalms of the Psalter: "Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly." Blessed is he who has not lived or acted on the advice of those who are irreverent and impious. "For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, and the way of the ungodly shall perish." For the Lord knows the life of the righteous and the life of the impious leads to ruin. The deacon then intones the Little Litany, "Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord..."

After this litany, the choir chants the verses of certain psalms that express the longing of man for salvation and Paradise: "Lord, I have cried unto Thee, hearken unto me. Hearken unto me, O Lord...Attend to the voice of my supplication, when I cry unto Thee...Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Hearken unto me, O Lord." During the chanting of these verses, the deacon censes the church once more.

Up to this point, the divine service, from the beginning of the closing of the Royal Gates, through the petitions of the Great Ectenia and the chanting of the psalms, represents the miserable state of mankind was subject to by the fall of our forefathers into sin. With the fall, all the deprivations, pains and sufferings we experience came into our lives. We cry out to God, "Lord, have mercy," and request peace and salvation for our souls. We feel contrition that we heeded the ungodly counsel of the Devil. We ask God to forgive our sins and deliver us from troubles; we place all our hope in His mercy. Thus, the censing by the deacon during the chanting of the psalm signifies both the sacrifices of the Old Testament and the prayers we are offering to God.

Alternating with the chanting of the Old Testament verses of the psalm "Lord, I have cried" are New testament hymns composed in honor of the saint or feast of the day. The last verse is called the Theotokion, or Dogmatikon, since it is sung in honor of the Mother of God. In it is set forth the dogma on the incarnation of the Son of God from the Virgin Mary. On the twelve great feasts, a special verse in honor of the feast is chanted in place of the Theotokion.

During the chanting of the Theotokion the Royal Gates are opened, and the Vespers Entry is made; a candle bearer comes through the north door of the Sanctuary, followed by the deacon with the censer, and finally the priest. The priest stops on the ambo facing the Royal Gates and blesses the entry with the sign of the Cross; after the intoning of the words "Wisdom, let us attend!" by the deacon, the priest and the deacon reenters the Altar together through the Royal Gates. The priest goes to stand next to the High Place behind the Holy Table.

At this time the choir chants a hymn to the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ: "O Gentle Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy blessed Father, O Jesus Christ: having come to the setting of the sun, having beheld the evening light, we praise the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: God. Meet it is for Thee at all times to be hymned with reverent voices, O Son of God, Giver of Life. Wherefore, the world doth glorify Thee."

In this hymn, the Son of God is called the Gentle Light that comes from the Heavenly Father, for He came to this earth not in the fullness of divine glory but in the gentle radiance of this glory. This hymn also says that only with reverent voices, and not our sinful mouths, can He be glorified and exalted worthily.

The entry during Vespers reminds the faithful how the Old Testament righteous, in harmony with the promise of God that was manifest in prototypes and prophecies, expected the coming of the Saviour, and how He appeared in the world for the salvation of the human race.

The censer with incense used at the entry signifies that our prayers, by the intercession of our Lord the Saviour, are offered to God like incense. It also signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit in the church.

The blessing with the sign of the Cross shows that by means of the Cross of the Lord the doors into Paradise are opened again for us.

Following the chanting of the hymn "O Gentle Light..." we sing the prokeimenon, short verses taken from the Holy Scriptures. On Saturday evening, for the Vespers for Sunday, we chant, "The Lord is King; He is clothed with majesty."

After the chanting of the prokeimenon, on the more important feasts there are readings. These are selections from the Scriptures in which there is a prophecy or a prototype which relates to the event being celebrated, or in which edifying teachings are set forth, which relate to the saint commemorated that day.

Following the prokeimenon and readings the deacon intones the Augmented Litany, "Let us all say with our whole soul and with our whole mind, let us say." The prayer, "Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this evening without sin..." follows, and at the conclusion of this prayer the deacon reads the Supplicatory Litany, "Let us complete our evening prayer unto the Lord..."

On great feasts after the Augmented and Supplicatory Litanies the Litia, or Blessing of Bread and Wine, is celebrated.

"Litia" is a Greek word meaning "common prayer." The Litia, a series of verses chanted by the choir followed by an enumeration of many saints whose prayers are besought, is celebrated in the western end of the church, near the main entrance doors, or in the Narthex, if the church is so arranged. This part of the service was intended for those who were standing in the Narthex, the catechumens and penitents, so they might be able to take part in the common service on the occasions of the major festivals.

At the end of the Litia is the blessing and sanctification of five loaves of bread, wheat, wine and oil to recall the ancient custom of providing food for those assembled who had come some distance, in order to give them strength during the long divine services. The five loaves are blessed to recall the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves of bread. Later, during the main part of Matins, the priest anoints the faithful with the sanctified oil, after they have venerated the festal icon.

After the Litia, or if it is not served, after the Supplicatory Litany, the Aposticha (Verses with hymns) are chanted. These are a few verses which are specially written in memory of the occasion.

Vespers ends with the reading of the prayer of St. Simeon the GodReceiver, "Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, O Master, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; a light of revelation for the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel." This prayer is followed by the reading of the Trisagion and the Lord's Prayer, and the singing of the salutation of the Theotokos, "O Theotokos and Virgin, Rejoice! or the troparion of the feast, and finally the thricechanted prayer of the Psalmist: "Blessed be the name of the Lord from henceforth and for evermore." The 33rd Psalm is then read or chanted until the verse, "But they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good thing." Then follows the priestly blessing, "The blessing of the Lord be upon you, through His grace and love for mankind, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages."

The conclusion of Vespers with the prayer of St. Simeon and the angelic salutation of the Theotokos indicates the fulfillment of the divine promise of a Saviour.

Immediately after the conclusion of Vespers during an All Night Vigil, Matins begins with the reading of the Six Psalms.

1. Who wrote this?
2. Would you please post a link so we can cross-reference this text for ourselves?
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2012, 03:18:41 AM »

1. Who wrote this?
2. Would you please post a link so we can cross-reference this text for ourselves?

Here 'tis: http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/church_services.htm

Scroll down (or follow the link) to the section called Vespers.

The article itself is taken from the English version of Zakon Bozhiy (Law of God), compiled by Fr Seraphim Slobodskoy. It's a well-known standard reference for Sunday Schools, catechumens and anyone interested in a comprehensive review of Orthodox faith and praxis.
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 06:15:18 AM »

wow, 10 replies overnight!
thanks a lot.
the explanation of the vespers service was similar to what i found on orthodox wiki, but a bit better.
can anyone give a link to the full text of the hymns that are quoted only partially?
eg. 'oh gladsome light...' as i don't know them.
i know 'now you are letting your servant depart in peace...' (luke 2:29-32) as we have this as well, and we also use the psalms a lot.
but i don't know the other 'usual' hymns.
i wonder if it was followed by matins as it was a 2 hour service (i came in at about 15 mins into the service) and the part when there was the anointing of oil was not the end of the service (and should have been from my previous experience of EO services), although some people left at this stage. there was just over half an hour of service after this, and some of the chants sounded like repeats,
so this would make sense.
i asked the lady next to me; she didn't seem to know why but said 'it was longer than usual'.

i find it hard to understand english (my first language) when it is chanted
(it sounds like 'aahh ohh eyyy eeeeeeei Father Son Holy Spirit noooa end of ages aaaaam in' so i can make out about half of it)
and only about 1/3 was in english. next time, i will have a little list of what is 'supposed' to happen, so i can benefit more.
i did make out the slavic words 'slava' and 'gospodi' but i didn't hear 'gospodi pomilui' like i heard in the czech liturgy i once visited,
so i think i need to get my ears used to listening better. i am sure they must have said it.

i think it would help if there were service books. it is good to pray with our minds as well as our spirits!
maybe there were books, but i didn't see any. where would be a good place to look?
thanks for all your help again, may God reward you for your patience with my questions.
 Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 06:59:24 AM »

the explanation of the vespers service was similar to what i found on orthodox wiki, but a bit better.
can anyone give a link to the full text of the hymns that are quoted only partially?

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/vespers.htm (instead „Gladsome Light” there is „Joyful Light”) and http://www.anastasis.org.uk/mat-sun.htm
You should remember that some hymns are variable (troparion, kontakion, canon, sticheras).


i wonder if it was followed by matins as it was a 2 hour service (i came in at about 15 mins into the service) and the part when there was the anointing of oil was not the end of the service (and should have been from my previous experience of EO services), although some people left at this stage. there was just over half an hour of service after this, and some of the chants sounded like repeats,
so this would make sense.
i asked the lady next to me; she didn't seem to know why but said 'it was longer than usual'.

I’m sure it was All-Night Vigil (Vespers + Matins + first hour) as in Russian practice Vespers practically are not celebrated alone. And the anointing of oil is done at the Matins during the singing of the Canon of the day. Every Canon has a part that repeats e.g. on Sundays “Glory to Thy Precious Cross and resurrection”, “Saint x pray for us” etc.
All-Night Vigil lasts longer on feasts (especially for the 12 Great Feasts because it has some additional parts), but on Saturday evening it can be also 2 hours.


i did make out the slavic words 'slava' and 'gospodi' but i didn't hear 'gospodi pomilui' like i heard in the czech liturgy i once visited,
so i think i need to get my ears used to listening better. i am sure they must have said it.

For sure there was “Gospodi (“Hospodi”) pomilui”, as it’s a part of every ekteny. Some people outside even claim that it's annoying "you say all the time only "Hospodi pomilui" Wink

i think it would help if there were service books. it is good to pray with our minds as well as our spirits!
maybe there were books, but i didn't see any. where would be a good place to look?

Unfortunately I don’t think you can find somewhere in Russian church a service book.
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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2012, 07:08:49 AM »

Quote
i wonder if it was followed by matins as it was a 2 hour service (i came in at about 15 mins into the service) and the part when there was the anointing of oil was not the end of the service (and should have been from my previous experience of EO services), although some people left at this stage. there was just over half an hour of service after this, and some of the chants sounded like repeats,

You did attend a Vigil, which is vespers followed by matins. This sort of service is generally done on the eves of feasts of high enough rank (such as would be the case for one of the Twelve Apostles), and on Saturday evenings. The blessing of bread is done at the end of vespers, between the Song of Symeon and the dismissal. The anointing with the oil blessed during this little service is usually done at the beginning of the reading/chanting of the canons at matins.

Some of the standard "signpost" hymns from a vigil:

Blessed is the man who has not walked in the council of the ungodly. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
For the Lord knows the way of the just, but the way of the ungodly will perish. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Serve the Lord in fear, and rejoice in Him with trembling. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Blessed are all who have put their trust in Him. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Arise, Lord; save me, my God. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Salvation is the Lord’s, and Your blessing is upon Your people. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Lord, I have cried to You, hear me; hear me, O Lord. Lord, I have cried to You, hear me. Give heed to the voice of my supplication when I cry to You. Hear me, O Lord.
Let my prayer be directed like incense before You; the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice. Hear me, O Lord.

O gladsome Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father, O Jesus Christ. Now that we have come to the setting of the sun and see the evening light, we sing the praise of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is right at all times to hymn You with holy voices, Son of God, giver of life. Therefore the world glorifies You.

Now, Master, let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a Light to bring revelation to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.

God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord. O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.
Choir: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.
Priest: All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off.
C: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.
P: I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.
C: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.
P: The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is wonderful in our eyes.
C: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.

Praise the name of the Lord, O you servants of the Lord. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Praised be the Lord from Zion, He who dwells in Jerusalem. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
O give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His mercy endures forever. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour.
More honourable than the Cherubim, and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word; indeed the Mother of God, we magnify you.
For He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden, for behold from henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
More honourable than the Cherubim…..
For He that is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name, and His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation.
More honourable than the Cherubim…..
He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
More honourable than the Cherubim…..
He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
More honourable than the Cherubim…..
He has helped Israel His servant in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, Abraham and His seed forever.
More honourable than the Cherubim…..

Let every breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from heaven, praise Him in the highest. To You, O God, is due a song. Praise Him, all His angels, praise Him, all His hosts. To You, O God, is due a song.


 The Great Doxology:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, among men of goodwill. We praise You, we bless You, we worship You, we glorify You, we give You thanks for Your great glory. Lord, King, God of heaven, Father almighty: Lord, only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit.
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us; You take away the sins of the world. Receive our prayer, You who sits on the right hand of the Father, and have mercy on us. For You alone are holy, You alone are Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Every day I will bless You, and praise Your name forever and to the ages of ages. Grant, Lord, this day to keep us without sin. Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and praised and glorified be Your name to the ages. Amen. May Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have put our hope in You.
Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes. Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes. Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes.
Lord, You have been our refuge from generation to generation. I said, Lord, have mercy on me, heal my soul, for I have sinned against You. Lord, I have run to You for refuge: teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. For with You is the source of life: and in Your light we shall see light. Continue Your mercy towards those who know You.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen. Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.


Many of these are derived from the Psalms.
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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2012, 07:11:16 AM »

and the part when there was the anointing of oil was not the end of the service (and should have been from my previous experience of EO services), although some people left at this stage.

Interesting to see the differences between Russian practice and what I'm used to.

Is your previous experience of EO services all of Romanian ones? I ask because I've never actually seen an annointing with oil at the end of the service in any other tradition at all (though I only recall going to a Russian parish once). I always thought that it was a wonderful but unusual Romanian tradition, but I'd be interested to learn that I'm wrong about this.

James
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« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2012, 07:34:44 AM »

hmm, i've only been anointed at a romanian service, now i think properly.
the others i have been to were greek and antiochian.
in the church i went to in prague (where i think it was in a mixture of old church slavonic and czech,
neither of which i speak!) i don't think we did it either.

but in this russian service, we were all given a big blob of fragrant oil with what looked like a large paintbrush.
i think it was a priest who did it, but it could have been a bishop.
the reason i think it was a priest is that he was with 2 deacons, not any other priests.
he was wearing a cylindrical hat and was bilingual with good english and a lovely peaceful face.
maybe you can recognise him from this!
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« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2012, 09:05:14 AM »


Quote
i think it would help if there were service books. it is good to pray with our minds as well as our spirits!
maybe there were books, but i didn't see any. where would be a good place to look?

There is no single book which would cover all the vigils held during the year, as more than half of the contents vary from service to service. Oddly enough, the higher the rank of feast, the less variable it will be. Vigils during Great Lent can be particularly complicated - a good liturgical calendar with detailed rubrics (liturgical instructions) is essential for all priests, deacons and choir directors!

The variable parts of Vespers and Matins (and Compline, when it is appointed to be served) are found in liturgical books which form part of a church's liturgical library. These include the Menaion (one volume for each month), the Lenten Triodion, the Pentecostarion, and the Okhtoikh (Book of Eight Tones). There are other books as well, but these are the main ones used for the variable parts of Vespers and Matins.
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« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2012, 09:20:19 AM »

I'm with my Romanian friend here as the practice of non-Russian, non-Hellenes is hardly uniform. Just wondering from our Ukrainian posters if they have the 'lights on lights off' practice? I still have a hard time with the concept that at a regular, non-vigil vespers in a rural village that the candles or whale oil lamps, a rare commodity, would be going off and on and the chandelier would be going up and down in the pre-electric era.

A rigid fixation with rubrics, which is a common trait among the 'high' Russians, can almost be comedic to the untrained eye. A wise priest, a non-Slav I might add, once observed that in Heaven he had little doubt that neither the Italians nor the Greeks would be in charge of protocol - that task would likely go to the Anglicans and the Russians as they were the masters on Earth of pomp and circumstance! Of course that was in the days when Anglicans were Anglicans!  Wink
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« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2012, 09:47:08 AM »

Quote
I still have a hard time with the concept that at a regular, non-vigil vespers in a rural village that the candles or whale oil lamps, a rare commodity, would be going off and on and the chandelier would be going up and down in the pre-electric era.

And yet, it did happen, both in Greek and Russian traditions. I have forebears from both, and the lamps and candles were, indeed, lit and put out at the appointed times during evening services. Most of these folks lived in small towns or villages, not in large cities.

Chandeliers were not the grand extravaganzas of dozens of lights we see today; they were simple hooped designs, not particularly heavy, with usually twelve candles or oil lamps around the rim. And the mechanism for raising and lowering them would have been no different to the cord and pulley still used for lamps on the iconostasis and over the Royal Doors.
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« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2012, 10:40:17 AM »

The light is on when the royal doors are opened, and off - when they are closed.
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« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2012, 02:37:58 PM »

wow, thanks for all the insights and links; i will look at them when i have time.
thanks to the same guest who loves shopping, i managed to arrange another expedition,
to another cathedral near a shopping centre! (i spend a respectful 30 mins in the shops,
she spends a respectful 30min in the cathedral, then we go our separate ways till tea time!)

this one was anglican, and it was interesting to compare the high anglican choral vespers
(where i was equally lost, despite the service card!) to the russian orthodox 'high' vespers.
of course (as i am very biased), the russian orthodox service was more beautiful.
this is mainly because the people seemed more sincere and partly because the anglican service was only 40min.

but the 'getting lost' bit seems to be a result of the development of liturgies in the centuries where the cathedral
was the leader in liturgical development (as opposed to the monastery).
some of the development in the western rite (of which the high anglican rite is a copy) and the eastern orthodox church were similar;
with the people becoming more like spectators and the choir taking precedence.

this occurred to a much lesser extent in churches outside the sphere of influence of the roman empire (eg. mine)
i have been reading 'the study of liturgy' edited by jones, wainright and yarnold, which is mainly an anglican and catholic study,
but it seems to apply to the orthodox churches as well.

does anyone know of a good book covering eastern and oriental liturgical developments?
i find it interesting, and it helps me find our similarities.

eg. in the 'great doxology' quoted by lbk, the first half is the same as our coptic one,
and the rest is prayed in the 'tasbeha' (midnight praise) service that usually follows vespers on a saturday
(and can be done on other days too, but there is usually not enough people to do it daily).
 Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2012, 02:42:49 PM »

this one was anglican, and it was interesting to compare the high anglican choral vespers
(where i was equally lost, despite the service card!) to the russian orthodox 'high' vespers.
of course (as i am very biased), the russian orthodox service was more beautiful.
this is mainly because the people seemed more sincere and partly because the anglican service was only 40min.

I can't imagine Orthodox vespers longer than 40 minutes too. In some Vigils I've attended the Vespers part was done in 20 minutes.
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« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2012, 03:11:57 PM »

this one was anglican, and it was interesting to compare the high anglican choral vespers
(where i was equally lost, despite the service card!) to the russian orthodox 'high' vespers.
of course (as i am very biased), the russian orthodox service was more beautiful.
this is mainly because the people seemed more sincere and partly because the anglican service was only 40min.

I can't imagine Orthodox vespers longer than 40 minutes too. In some Vigils I've attended the Vespers part was done in 20 minutes.

That's funny, it was always about 40 minutes from start to finish at our CR parish - Church Slavonic - where I learned the tones many years ago.... Add about 10 to 15 minutes for English.... Hmmm.... Maybe I am on to something here about the language issue?Huh? just kidding all!  Wink Wink
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« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2012, 04:34:44 PM »

remember (from the posts above), i got 3 for the 'price' of 1!
vespers, vigil and matins.
although, if i knew before it was an 'all night vigil'
and it finished after 2 hours, i would be very disappointed!

edit: our Good Friday service 'all night' normally lasts from 10pm to 6am!
i have only been a few times!
 Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2012, 05:45:00 PM »

this one was anglican, and it was interesting to compare the high anglican choral vespers
(where i was equally lost, despite the service card!) to the russian orthodox 'high' vespers.
of course (as i am very biased), the russian orthodox service was more beautiful.
this is mainly because the people seemed more sincere and partly because the anglican service was only 40min.

I can't imagine Orthodox vespers longer than 40 minutes too. In some Vigils I've attended the Vespers part was done in 20 minutes.

If they use the slow (stichararic) form of chant, Byzantine services can be very long. Especially on feast days and Sundays. A friend of mine went to Mt Athos and said "Lord I Have Cried" was frequently well over an hour long by itself.

That's not common in the West though. At my parish Vespers is 40-60 minutes fwiw
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« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2012, 06:29:01 PM »

remember (from the posts above), i got 3 for the 'price' of 1!
vespers, vigil and matins.
although, if i knew before it was an 'all night vigil'
and it finished after 2 hours, i would be very disappointed!

edit: our Good Friday service 'all night' normally lasts from 10pm to 6am!
i have only been a few times!
 Smiley

My friend, you actually attended an abbreviated all-night vigil that in common parish practice is indeed Vespers, Matins, and First Hour. In my OCA parish it is about 2 hours long, while it takes slightly longer in our neighboring ROCOR church. BTW, on Holy Friday we do have two services during the day and one at night (Lamentations or Praises), followed by a Vigil at the Tomb during which parishioners read from the Psalms in one-hour blocks, lasting until Holy Saturday Divine Liturgy. After the Liturgy, other folks continue the Vigil at the Tomb, but this time reading from the Book of Acts until 1130 PM.
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« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2012, 06:33:24 PM »

that's great,
all weekend in church!
glad u have an all night service too.
 Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2012, 01:25:30 PM »

this one was anglican, and it was interesting to compare the high anglican choral vespers
(where i was equally lost, despite the service card!) to the russian orthodox 'high' vespers.
of course (as i am very biased), the russian orthodox service was more beautiful.
this is mainly because the people seemed more sincere and partly because the anglican service was only 40min.

I can't imagine Orthodox vespers longer than 40 minutes too. In some Vigils I've attended the Vespers part was done in 20 minutes.

I've seen vespers well over an hour, especially if all the kathismas/stichera are read and if there is a litya. Not that I'm complaining - why would I want to run away from heaven Smiley

In XC,

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« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2012, 03:45:36 PM »

You know you are in an odd place on the internet when the question about lights being on or off has to do with Christian liturgics.
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« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2012, 04:04:57 PM »

You know you are in a odd good place on the internet when the question about lights being on or off has to do with Christian liturgics.

ha ha,
but i have fixed it for you!
 Wink
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« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2012, 04:19:06 PM »

this one was anglican, and it was interesting to compare the high anglican choral vespers
(where i was equally lost, despite the service card!) to the russian orthodox 'high' vespers.
of course (as i am very biased), the russian orthodox service was more beautiful.
this is mainly because the people seemed more sincere and partly because the anglican service was only 40min.

I can't imagine Orthodox vespers longer than 40 minutes too. In some Vigils I've attended the Vespers part was done in 20 minutes.

40 minutes! Tell that to these guys and see if they think thats funny Wink
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYk8VqQztX4
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