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Author Topic: More Help Needed with Hours  (Read 2842 times) Average Rating: 0
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patricius
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« on: January 18, 2003, 02:45:55 PM »

I recently obtained a copy of The Hours of Prayer: A Book of Devotion by Fr. Leonty.  I very much like an established routine of daily private prayer and thought this work would be a good place to learn about Byzantine methodology.  For the most part it seems quite straightforward, but in a couple of matters it is very confusing.

One thing involves those parts labelled "Tropars and Kondaks."  How does one use these?  At points in each hour some such instruction as "We now sing the appointed Tropars and Bohorodicen" is given.  How is this complied with?  I have noticed that there are several sections in the book titled Tropars and Kondaks of Sundays, Weekdays, Feasts, Triodion, and Pentecostarion, however no instructions are given.  Are these the proper ones to use in the rest of the book?  If so, how do you know which are "appointed"?

Another problem is that at points in the text a Canon is prescribed, but these do not seem to be given in the text.  What is meant by Canon?  And additionally references are made to "Sessional Hymn" which is unexplained.  What should one make of that?

Lastly, I assume that tones refer to something to do with chanting/singing.  This appears constantly among the tropars and other prayers.  Does this have to do with distinguishing which of various prayers to use for a given day or week?  And I am led to wonder if one is required to sing or chant the prayers.  I have no experience with such and so would not know where to start with chanting.  Can one simply read the services?

Sorry about all of these questions, but as a newbie to all of this I am completely lost at times.  I hope that somebody will be able to at least clear some of the fog on this.

Many thanks in advance,

Patrick
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Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2003, 03:06:05 PM »

Wow, Patrick, so many questions!

You'll need an Orthodox liturgical calendar at the very least to help you.  There are troparia (tropars) and kontakia (kondaks) appointed for every day of the week, and each week has its own "tone," of which there are eight.  Until you learn the melody of each tone, you can just chant them in a manner familiar to you, or alternatively, you may simply recite them, as you would for any other prayer.  A "theotokion" or "Bohorodicen" is simply a concluding kontakion ("kondak") in honor of the Theotokos.

The Sunday troparia are all in honor of the Resurrection.  The weekday troparia are in honor of the Holy Angels (Mondays), Holy Forerunner John the Baptist (Tuesdays), etc. Festal troparia are used for feasts of a certain rank, especially important feasts and replace the ordinary weekday troparia from the Okteokos (Book of Eight Tones). Triodion is for the period of Great Lent and the three weeks leading up to it.  Pentecostarion is for the Feast of Pentecost and the time following it.  Sessional hymn means you may sit during that one!  I hope this little bit helps you to get started.

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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2003, 04:31:56 PM »

Patrick, I’ve been using The Hours of Prayer since 1995. You’re right, the canons are not in the book. An Orthodox prayer book such as the Jordanville Prayer Book has them.

The way I use it is unique: just First Hour and Small Compline with the psalmody taken from the daily assignments in the traditional Anglican Book of Common Prayer, the day’s lessons taken from the church calendar (take Hypo-Ortho’s advice and get an Orthodox liturgical calendar, or download Menologion — the link is on the page I give a link to below) and the canticles from Matins added to my First Hour and from Vespers added to my Small Compline — again, taken from the Book of Common Prayer.

I find this way of praying the hours better than the treadmill of reading the same psalms over and over and over again.

Notice in your book it says to read the kathisma at Vespers. That’s not in the book. Lance, a member of this forum, mapped out his own way of praying the hours, from which I derived mine, which is described here — he gives the kathisma plan for reading the psalter, explains how it works and gives his version of doing it.

As I only do two 15-minute offices a day, I find the Book of Common Prayer psalmody works — the kathismata don’t make sense unless you’re doing all the hours like in a monastery.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2003, 04:38:02 PM by Serge » Logged

patricius
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2003, 04:34:27 PM »

Hypo-Ortho,

Many thanks.  This is very helpful indeed.  By the way, would the program available online, Menologion 2.0, be good in the place of a calendar?  It seems to give the daily troparia and kontakia.

And, thanks for the info on the meaning of the groups of troparia and such.  However, why do you suppose these are given in the book if one is to look elsewhere for the daily troparia, etc.?  What does one do with these given?  By the way, they appear fundamentally identical to those given in the online prayer book at Myrobiblios.  They seem rather mysterious to me as it is.

Again, many thanks.

Patrick

PS:  How do you think a guy like me could learn the melodies for the tones?  In the Church I am attending everything is in Greek and so I cannot tell what is being said or sung later.  Any suggestions for a tone deaf Catholic boy? :-)
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patricius
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2003, 04:44:43 PM »

Serge,

Thanks.  You posted while I was typing my reply to Hypo-Ortho, and so you anticipated my question about Menologion.  I have downloaded it and it seems very concise and easy to follow.  But, I am a little surprised by the bible readings.  There are New Testament readings on Saturday and Sunday, and only Old Testament readings on all other days.  Why is that?  I thought that the Orthodox tended to use the New Testament exclusively.  I certainly thought there would be a Gospel and epistle reading each day, and not just on weekends.

But, let me ask you as well, what do you do with the troparia and kontakia as given in this book?  Do they have a function?  They just seem to stare out at me mocking me whenever I open up the book!  What do you use on a daily basis when prompted in the text to say the daily tropar or kondak?

Oh, and I forgot to ask Hypo-Ortho something, and so will put it here for either of you if y'all don't mind.  He mentioned the Theotokion.  Are these in the book?  I don't recall seeing anything labelled as this in either the book or the Menologion program.

Many thanks to both of you,

Patrick
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2003, 04:56:10 PM »

Quote
But, I am a little surprised by the bible readings.  There are New Testament readings on Saturday and Sunday, and only Old Testament readings on all other days.  Why is that?  I thought that the Orthodox tended to use the New Testament exclusively.  I certainly thought there would be a Gospel and epistle reading each day, and not just on weekends.

There are Epistle and Gospel readings for every day — find a church wall calendar with them listed.

I do use the daily tropar’ and kondak as given in the book, or the ones given in the book for a major feast. I have another resource, an old Ruthenian Catholic pew book, for some other feast days, and if I really want to read them for the saint of the day, there’s Menologion or one of my Slavonic books.
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2003, 06:07:57 PM »

Quote
But, I am a little surprised by the bible readings.  There are New Testament readings on Saturday and Sunday, and only Old Testament readings on all other days.  Why is that?  I thought that the Orthodox tended to use the New Testament exclusively.  I certainly thought there would be a Gospel and epistle reading each day, and not just on weekends.

There are Epistle and Gospel readings for every day — find a church wall calendar with them listed.

I do use the daily tropar’ and kondak as given in the book, or the ones given in the book for a major feast. I have another resource, an old Ruthenian Catholic pew book, for some other feast days, and if I really want to read them for the saint of the day, there’s Menologion or one of my Slavonic books.

Serge,

Unless I am simply misunderstanding your statement "There are Epistle and Gospel readings for every day" it is incorrect.  There are not Epistle and Gospel readings for the aliturgical days such as most weekdays of the Great Fast/Lent as the Divine Liturgy is not celebrated on those days and these (as presented here) are proper to the Divine Liturgy.  

Most Orthodox calendars that would have the readings listed should reflect this.  Someone please point out if I am simply confused or misunderstanding.

Tony
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2003, 06:10:08 PM »

Tony,

You’re right — I should have said there are Epistle and Gospel readings for most days, not just Sundays, except the aliturgical days.
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Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2003, 06:58:05 PM »

Patrick, the "theotokion" may not always be identified as such.  It is usually the short kondak (kontakion) in honor of the Theotokos following "Now and ever and unto ages of ages" while "Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit" is interspersed between the Tropar(ion) and the Kondak of the day.  An Orthodox liturgical wall or desk calendar should give you the "Tone" for the week from the Okteokos as well as the Scripture readings for each day, including the "aliturgical" days alluded to by Tony.  Don't try to do everything all at once.  Do it little by little, and then slowly you'll get used to the terminology, and things will naturally fall into place.  If you're feeling a little brave some Sunday, ask the priest for some help in this area after Liturgy.

At my church, the priest prints all the Troparia and Kontakia in the weekly parish bulletin in the order they are sung during Divine Liturgy for each Sunday, as well as the Epistle and Gospel reading appointed for the day.

As far as the Canons, Serge is right: good sources are ROCOR's Jordanville Prayer Book and the OCA's Orthodox Daily Prayers (St. Tikhon's Seminary Press).  I prefer the latter.  IMO, the translations are less awkward than those in the Jordanville version.

Hypo-Ortho
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patricius
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2003, 08:01:18 PM »

Serge and Tony,

Well, that explains it.  I was glancing through the calendars in it, and was in Lent.  That is why I suppose all the weekday readings were from the Old Testament and none were from the New Testament.  Does that sound about right to you?

And Serge, many thanks for all the help, but perhaps you will allow me to clarify this a bit?  On page 148 of my copy are given the "Tropars and Kondaks for Weekdays."  Are these usable for any given weekday which is not covered elsewhere in the book, i.e. feast days, Lenten Triodion, Holy Week, Pentecostarion, etc.?  If that is the case, I may just follow that.  But, if this is true, then just how do the troparion specific to a given day, such as those given in Menologion, fit in?  And I am assuming that the Sunday Troparion given would be selected by the tone of the week?

Hypo-Ortho,

I agree completely.  This could simply be overwhelming.  And I have actually kept my prayer situation fairly simple during this crazy time.  Right now I am simply praying from the Morning and Evening prayers as given in the little Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers.  Though, I have to mention that this has tons of troparion and kontakion as well, and this in a book which does not even have a place to use them in the daily prayers!?  I have to say that these things really just confuse me immensely.  And what really bugs me is to have a book which I do not know how to understand.  This is a big peeve for me, and I just cannot rest until I break the code.

And thanks for the recommendation.  Is that press online?  Or do they sell through other distributors such as Light and Life?

Again, many thanks to all of you.  You have been beyond patient with this slow thinker.

Patrick
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2003, 09:16:29 PM »

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aliturgical days

New convert question time....what are "aliturgicul days."  I gather the Divine Liturgy is not supposed to be celebrated on them, but what is their signifigance and reason.  Thanks in advance.


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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2003, 10:17:54 PM »

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Well, that explains it. I was glancing through the calendars in it, and was in Lent.  That is why I suppose all the weekday readings were from the Old Testament and none were from the New Testament.  Does that sound about right to you?

Exactly.

Quote
And Serge, many thanks for all the help, but perhaps you will allow me to clarify this a bit?  On page 148 of my copy are given the "Tropars and Kondaks for Weekdays."  Are these usable for any given weekday which is not covered elsewhere in the book, i.e. feast days, Lenten Triodion, Holy Week, Pentecostarion, etc.?  If that is the case, I may just follow that.  But, if this is true, then just how do the troparion specific to a given day, such as those given in Menologion, fit in?  And I am assuming that the Sunday Troparion given would be selected by the tone of the week?

You’re welcome. You can use the assigned daily tropar’ and kondak any given weekday, OR the ones given in Menologion. AFAIK, your choice. Yes, the Sunday tropar’ and kondak are on a rotating schedule of eight tones — check a calendar to get in sync.

Quote
New convert question time....what are "aliturgical days."  I gather the Divine Liturgy is not supposed to be celebrated on them, but what is their signifigance and reason.  Thanks in advance.

Right, they’re days when there is no Divine Liturgy, even in monasteries that have it every day. All I know is that this emphasizes the penitential character of the season (Great Lent).

The Jordanville book is online — the link is on the Orthodoxy page of my site.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2003, 10:48:09 PM by Serge » Logged

patricius
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« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2003, 12:23:21 AM »

Many thanks Serge.  I think it is beginning to make some sense to me now.

Patrick
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2003, 03:02:59 PM »

Just to add one thing to an excellent discussion.  Since the Divine Liturgy is always a service of Resurrection, it is inherently a joyful service---and thus not in keeping with the penitential nature of the days of Great Lent.  So no Divine Liturgy on the weekdays of Lent (but there is a communion service, the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, so that the faithful can receive the Eucharist when we perhaps need it most), but longer Offices with readings from the O.T. that re-connect us every Lent with the history of our Savation.
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2003, 11:31:14 PM »

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aliturgical days

New convert question time....what are "aliturgicul days."  I gather the Divine Liturgy is not supposed to be celebrated on them, but what is their signifigance and reason.  Thanks in advance.


Nektarios

Dear Nektarios,

I think Reader Paul responded to this already.  Is that enough?  If not I am sure there is something online that can be found, just say the word.

Tony
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and if everbody's a sinner then everybody can be a winner
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I'll see you when yo
Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2003, 11:42:04 PM »

On "aliturgical" days, i.e., weekdays which occur only during the period of the Triodion (Great Lent and the few weeks immediately preceding it), the full Divine Liturgy, because of its festive and Resurrectional character, is not served.  In its place, so that the Faithful will not be denied the reception of Holy Communion, the somber and beautiful Lenten Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts (Vespers with Communion added) is served (often in the evening after a full day of fasting,where this practice has been restored), with Communion given from that which was sanctified the previous Sunday.

Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2003, 03:50:37 AM »

PS:  How do you think a guy like me could learn the melodies for the tones?  In the Church I am attending everything is in Greek and so I cannot tell what is being said or sung later.  Any suggestions for a tone deaf Catholic boy? :-)
This might be what you are looking for (or it might not Smiley)
http://www.church-music.co.uk/EOChant.htm

John.
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« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2003, 12:01:01 PM »

Patricus,

I learned the melodies for the eight tones from the book of Great Vespers music published by St. Vladimir's.  If you can't find a copy let me know and I'll make photocopies for you and mail them to you.  Since it would be for liturgical use, I don't think that would break any of the copyrights on the book.
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