Liturgical Music

Liturgical Music. In the Orthodox Faith, our singing in church is meant to be an Icon of worship. We sing our prayers. Our prayers are sung. And hardly ever do we hear prayers simply said. The Orthodox Church's tradition is to offer up prayers to God in uttered heightened speech called sacred singing. It is [...]

Services of the Daily Cycle

Services of the Daily Cycle. The services of the Daily Cycle are divided into three groups of three services each, conveniently entitled: Evening Service (9th Hour, Vespers and Compline), Morning Service (Nocturns, Matins and 1st Hour), and Midday Service (3rd Hour, 6th Hour and Divine Liturgy or Typical Psalms). In addition, on Saturday evenings, as [...]

The Divine Liturgy

The Divine Liturgy has its origins in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, instituted by the Lord Himself: Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Where will You have us prepare for You to eat the passover? He said, Go into the city to a certain one, and [...]

The Five Cycles

The Great Cycle of Life. The life of an Orthodox Christian can be seen as being composed of five cycles. There is, first of all, the great cycle of life, which embraces the whole life of a man from birth to death, and which consists in liturgical actions which are not repeated, occurring only once [...]

Fasting Rules

The fasting rules, found for the most part in the Typikon (mainly Chapters 32 and 33), and repeated in appropriate places of the Menaion and Triodion, are dependent on the Church's cycle of feasts and fasts. In general, with a few exceptions, all Wednesdays and Fridays (Mondays also, in some monasteries) are kept as days [...]

Fasting Seasons and Days

Paschal Cycle: 1. Meatfast the week before the beginning of Great Lent 2. Great Lent and Holy Week Yearly Cycle: 1. Nativity (St. Philip's) Fast Nov. 15 through Dec. 24 2. Apostles' (Peter and Paul) Fast from the Monday after All Saints Sunday through June 28 3. Dormition (Theotokos) Fast Aug. 1 through Aug. 14 [...]

Glossary of Liturgical Terms

Alleluia. (See Prokeimenon.) Antiphons. The first three hymns sung at the Divine Liturgy (Ps. 103; Ps. 146 and Only-begotten Son... the Beatitudes) are called Antiphons (steps) because they are sung in steps or stages by two Choirs singing opposite each other. Hence this type of singing in steps is called antiphonal. Apostikha. These are Stikhera [...]

Great Lent and Pascha

The Feast of Feasts the Holy Pascha the Resurrection of the Lord-is the climax of the Church's liturgical year and is also the most glorious, most joyful and bright festival of the Christian Church. On it Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ arose as victor over death, destroying the power of death over man once [...]

Liturgical Books

The Liturgical books used in Orthodox worship fall into three main groups. The first of these are three books containing readings from Holy Scripture. These are the Book of Gospels, the Book of Epistles (Apostol), and the Book of Psalms (Psalter). Book of Gospels. This book contains the text of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, [...]

Liturgical Gestures

Orthodox worship is characterized by a complete utilization of the senses sight, smell, hearing, speech and touch. We see the candles, Icons, frescoes, etc., we hear the sounds of singing and reading, at times lifting up our own voices, and we smell the characteristic odor of the incense. The whole of the human person is [...]