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Yearly liturgical calendar


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#1 Sacha

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 02:58 AM

Hi,


I was hoping that some kind soul would point me to some resources that shed light on how the Orthodox church organizes its liturgy year round.


Of greatest interest to me, is how priests organize their sermons/messages (realizing that there is much more to liturgy than that) throughout the main feasts and other markers unique to the church. I am guessing that they follow a set pattern/rhythm every year, as they approach Advent, Christmas, Pascha and everything in between?


Thanks much,
Sacha



#2 Owen

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 04:20 AM

Of greatest interest to me, is how priests organize their sermons/messages (realizing that there is much more to liturgy than that) throughout the main feasts and other markers unique to the church. I am guessing that they follow a set pattern/rhythm every year, as they approach Advent, Christmas, Pascha and everything in between?


Yes. If you follow the Epistles, Gospels, and the Synaxarion, you won't lack for sermon material.



#3 Father David Moser

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 04:29 AM

This article should get you started on understanding the typicon. If you want more, go to this page and click on the "liturgics" button. There you will find a whole list of online resources on the liturgical traditions of the Orthodox Church.

Fr David

#4 Sacha

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:22 PM

Thank you very much Father Moser, that was very helpful.

#5 Sacha

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 09:11 PM

I have a follow up question: how exactly was/is the liturgical calendar determined? Such as here:

http://www.antiochia...l-calendar-2012

How was the particular emphasis given to the remembrance of certain events in the Gospels (or otherwise) determined?

#6 Michael Astley

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 09:46 PM

I have a follow up question: how exactly was/is the liturgical calendar determined? Such as here:

http://www.antiochia...l-calendar-2012

How was the particular emphasis given to the remembrance of certain events in the Gospels (or otherwise) determined?


This is a very simple question with a very complicated answer. :)

The truth is that there is a different answer for each observance in the calendar. Some things now in the church calendar were local celebrations in Jerusalem that pilgrims to the holy places associated with the life of the Saviour took back with them to their home churches and countries. Others were included because of their importance in the salvation of mankind, and their dates were based on their relationship in time to existing feasts, (Ascension 40 days after Pascha, and so forth). Others are based on the dates of the deaths or other events in the lives of saints who have been loved by people in a particular part of the world or indeed across the Church, for their teachings, writings, or way of life.

If you have a question about a particular day, I would suggest looking up that day in the Bulkagov Handbook, which often has some good explanations of the origins of these things. I would suggest looking up the 25th of December as a starting point, for interest's sake.

M

#7 Sacha

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:44 AM

Thank you Michael.

So, is it fair to say that the calendar was 'made up as it went'? Or was there a core pattern of remembrance present from the very beginning that was never altered? This is really a historical question.

#8 Michael Astley

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:29 AM

Thank you Michael.

So, is it fair to say that the calendar was 'made up as it went'? Or was there a core pattern of remembrance present from the very beginning that was never altered? This is really a historical question.


You're welcome, Sacha.

I would perhaps be more inclined to say developed than made up but, yes, it took form over time, and is indeed still developing as new saints are glorified and as new events in the life of the Churc unfold, and are given their own feasts in the calendar.

I would suggest that those most ancient observances in the calendar are those surrounding the events in life of the Saviour, his Mother, and the Apostles. The Resurrection was likely the original and most widely celebrated feast. It was perhaps the only one that was universally celebrated at first. As the Ascension happened forty days after the Resurrection, forty days after Pascha seemed the natural time for it to be celebrated in the calendar. Similarly, it seems natural for the Annunciation to be celebrated nine months before Christmas, and for the Conception of the Mother of God to be celebrated nine months before her Nativity. See what I mean? Once one thing becomes established, others dependent on it just naturally fall into place. The dates and manner of the deaths of the Apostles would have been known to their disciples, and would have been marked accordingly.

It has been a number of years since I read anything on the development of the calendar but a good introduction is to be found in The Shape of the Liturgy, by Dix. In the chapter, The Sanctification of Time is a section on the development of the calendar and the various influences on it, as the Church passed from being an alternately persecuted and tolerated sect within the Roman empire to being a state religion, now celebrate its mysteries more openly, affirm its martyrs, and so forth.

M

#9 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:23 PM

The brilliance of the Byzantine Calendar is the way in which all of the different liturgical cycles & elements were brought together. Each cycle and element is a theme about which a lot could be said. But the calendar is the result of centuries of developing a way of harmonizing all of this.

Think of an orchestra with different instruments. According to the piece being played, different instruments are given greater or more subdued roles in order to produce a total sound. This is an analogy of what an Orthodox service always is and of the different elements which contribute to it.

That is why alteration in the pattern of the services should only be entered into carefully. Alter one element and the entire tone of the service changes and its effect and message. Such alterations can be made. But their purpose and effect have to be kept in mind.

In Christ
-Fr Raphael




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