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The Gospel reading in Orthros


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#1 Donna Rail

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 12:30 PM

Hello, I have a few questions about the Gospel reading during Orthros. How is it selected? Do they use a fixed schedule? Does it have any connection (in terms of themes of each passage) with the Gospel that is read later during the Divine Liturgy?

Thanks anyone for your help. :)

#2 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 02:59 PM

There are 11 Matins Gospel readings which go in a fixed cycle. Each of these Matins Gospels focuses on the Resurrection. Whereas interestingly enough the Gospel at Liturgy rarely refers directly to this theme (only the Gospels towards the end of Great Lent do so). This is an interesting feature of the Byzantine Gospel lectionary which all Orthodox churches have inherited and is quite unique in this sense if I am not mistaken. A commentary on this feature would be profitable.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#3 Georgianna

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:17 PM

Please forgive me, an ignorant sinner, for daring to contribute to this thread.

The 11 Resurrectional Gospel readings for Sunday Orthros (Matins) have corresponding hymns within the Orthros - the Exapostilaria (after the Megalinarion/Magnificat) and the Doxastika (after the Ainoi/Lauds). In the Greek tradition, if the a feast of the Lord falls on the Sunday, the Resurrectional Gospel reading is replaced by the prescribed Festal Gospel reading for Orthros and is read at the Royal Doors/Beautiful Gate opposed to the right side of the altar (as is the case with the Resurrectional Gospel). I cannot readily find a patristic reference, so I may be mistaken - but, the reason for the reading at the right side of the Holy Altar is directly related to the account of the Angel at the Tomb (Mark 16:1-8). All Sundays maintain the Paschal joy, as is found in the beautiful Evlogitaria ... with one slight exception, the Saturday of Lazarus contains the Resurrectional Evlogitaria and mirrors a Sunday Divine Liturgy in its Resurrectional nature. Palm Sunday, however, does not contain the Resurrectional Evlogitaria and, since it is a feast of the Lord, the Orthros Gospel reading is related to the day.

Weekday Orthros with Divine Liturgy is slightly different and depends upon whether or not there is a prescribed Orthros Gospel reading. For example, on January 1st, the prescribed Orthros Gospel reading (John 10:1-9) is tied to the commemoration of St Basil. The Gospel reading prescribed for the Divine Liturgy (Luke 2:20-21, 40-52) is related to the commemoration of the Circumcision of Our Lord. The Exapostilarion and the Doxastikon for the weekday Orthros on this day covers both (two Exapostilarion and two Doxastikon). The Orthros as a whole is beautifully connected, especially in light of the hymns, and prepares the heart for the Divine Liturgy which follows.

#4 Donna Rail

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 07:49 AM

Thank you very much. :)

#5 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 03:39 PM

Yes- to clarify- I was referring to the 11 Gospels read at Sunday Matins (Saturday night Vigil). Not the festal Gospels read at Matins at a feast.

In Christ- Fr Raphael




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