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The Apolytikion (Greek : Ἀπολυτίκιον) or Dismissal Hymn is a troparion (hymn) said or sung at Orthodox Christian worship services. The apolytikion summarizes the feast being celebrated that day. It is chanted at Vespers, Matins and the Divine Liturgy; and it is read at each of the Little Hours. The name derives from the fact that it is chanted for the first time before the dismissal (Greek: apolysis ) of Vespers. In the Orthodox Church, the liturgical day begins at sunset, so Vespers is the first service of the day. The term apolytikion is used in Greek tradition. In Slavic tradition the term troparion is specifically used to stand for Apolytikion, whilst troparion is of more generic usage in Greek tradition.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
A troparion in Byzantine music and in the religious music of Eastern Orthodox Christianity is a short hymn of one stanza, or organised in more complex forms as series of stanzas.
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος (hymnos), which means "a song of praise". A writer of hymns is known as a hymnodist. The singing or composition of hymns is called hymnody. Collections of hymns are known as hymnals or hymn books. Hymns may or may not include instrumental accompaniment.
The apolytikion could be compared in the Western liturgy to the collect or post-communion, inasmuch as it changes for each feast-day of the year and specifically commemorates the subject of the feast.
The collect is a short general prayer of a particular structure used in Christian liturgy.
The Communion is a refrain sung with psalm recitation during the distribution of the Eucharist in the Divine Liturgy or Mass. As chant it was connected with the ritual act of Christian communion.
The apolytikion of the Feast of the Nativity (December 25):
Christmas is an annual festival, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.
Your birth, O Christ our God, dawned the light of knowledge upon the earth. For by Your birth those who adored stars were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Justice, and to know You, Orient from on High. O Lord, glory to You.
The biblical Magi, also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men or (Three) Kings, were – in the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition – distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and are an important part of Christian tradition.
The Star of Bethlehem, or Christmas Star, appears only in the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew, where "wise men from the East" (Magi) are inspired by the star to travel to Jerusalem. There they meet King Herod of Judea, and ask, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?" We have come to pay homage to the newborn king of the Jews. Herod calls his scribes and priests who quote to him that a verse from the Book of Micah interpreted as a prophecy, states that the Jewish Messiah would be born in Bethlehem to the south of Jerusalem. Secretly intending to find and kill the Messiah in order to preserve his own kingship, Herod invites the wise men to return to him on their way home.
The apolytikion for the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25):
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of Our Lady, or the Annunciation of the Lord, is the Catholic celebration of the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking His Incarnation. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Yeshua, meaning "YHWH is salvation".
Today is the crowning of our salvation and the manifestation of the Mystery which is from eternity; the Son of God becometh the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel announceth the glad tidings of grace: wherefore let us cry out with him to the Mother of God; Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!
The apolytikion of Pascha (Easter):
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
There are also Resurrectional Apolytikiawritten in each of the Eight Tones.
Oktōēchos is the eight-mode system used for the composition of religious chant in Byzantine, Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Latin and Slavic churches since the Middle Ages. In a modified form the octoechos is still regarded as the foundation of the tradition of monodic chant in the Byzantine Rite today.
Great Lent, or the Great Fast, is the most important fasting season in the church year in the Byzantine Rite of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Byzantine Rite Lutheran Churches and the Eastern Catholic Churches, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Pascha (Easter).
Vespers is a sunset evening prayer service in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours. The word comes from the Greek ἑσπέρα ("hespera") and the Latin vesper, meaning "evening". It is also referred to in the Anglican tradition as evening prayer or evensong. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe evening services.
Divine Liturgy or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Greek Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.
In the practice of Christianity, canonical hours mark the divisions of the day in terms of periods of fixed prayer at regular intervals. A book of hours normally contains a version of, or selection from, such prayers.
The Byzantine Rite, also known as the Greek Rite or Constantinopolitan Rite, is the liturgical rite used by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Greek/Byzantine Catholic churches, and in a modified form, Byzantine Rite Lutheranism. Its development began during the fourth century in Constantinople and it is now the second most-used ecclesiastical rite in Christendom after the Roman Rite.
Easter Vigil, also called the Paschal Vigil or the Great Vigil of Easter, is a service held in traditional Christian churches as the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Historically, it is during this service that people are baptized and that adult catechumens are received into full communion with the Church. It is held in the hours of darkness between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter Day – most commonly in the evening of Holy Saturday or midnight – and is the first celebration of Easter, days traditionally being considered to begin at sunset.
In the Byzantine Rite of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches, Orthros (Greek or Oútrenya is the last of the four night offices, which also include vespers, compline, and midnight office. In traditional monasteries it is held daily so as to end at sunrise. In many parishes it is held only on Sundays and feast days. It is often called matins after the office it most nearly corresponds to in Western Christian churches.
Divine Service is the term used in the Eastern Orthodox Church to describe the daily cycle of public services celebrated in the temple.
In Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches, an entrance is a procession during which the clergy enter into the sanctuary through the Holy Doors. The origin of these entrances goes back to the early church, when the liturgical books and sacred vessels were kept in special storage rooms for safe keeping and the procession was necessary to bring these objects into the church when needed. Over the centuries, these processions have grown more elaborate, and nowadays are accompanied by incense, candles and liturgical fans. In the liturgical theology of the Orthodox Church, the angels are believed to enter with the clergy into the sanctuary, as evidenced by the prayers which accompany the various entrances.
The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ is a Christian celebration of the circumcision of Jesus in accordance with Jewish tradition, eight days after his birth, the occasion on which the child was formally given his name.
Prime, or the First Hour, is one of the canonical hours of the Divine Office, said at the first hour of daylight, between the dawn hour of Lauds and the 9 a.m. hour of Terce. It remains part of the Christian liturgies of Eastern Christianity, but in the Latin Rite it was suppressed by the Second Vatican Council. However, clergy under obligation to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours may still fulfil their obligation by using the edition of the Roman Breviary promulgated by Pope John XXIII in 1962, which contains Prime. Like all the liturgical hours, except the Office of Readings, it consists mainly of Psalms. It is one of the Little Hours.
The Little Hours or minor hours are the canonical hours other than the three major hours.
The Nativity Fast is a period of abstinence and penance practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches, in preparation for the Nativity of Jesus. The corresponding Western season of preparation for Christmas, which also has been called the Nativity Fast and St. Martin's Lent, has taken the name of Advent. The Eastern fast runs for 40 days instead of four or six weeks and thematically focuses on proclamation and glorification of the Incarnation of God, whereas the Western Advent focuses on the two comings of Jesus Christ: his birth and his Second Coming or Parousia.
Acolouthia in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, signifies the arrangement of the Divine Services, perhaps because the parts are closely connected and follow in order. In a more restricted sense, the term "acolouth" refers to the fixed portion of the Office. The portions of the Office that are variable are called the Sequences. While the structure and history of the various forms of the Divine Office in the numerous ancient Christian rites is exceedingly rich, the following article will restrict itself to the practice as it evolved in the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
The Paschal troparion or Christos anesti is the characteristic hymn for the celebration of the Orthodox Pascha (Easter) in the Eastern Orthodox Church and churches that follow the Byzantine Rite.
Eastern Orthodox worship in this article is distinguished from Eastern Orthodox prayer in that 'worship' refers to the activity of the Christian Church as a body offering up prayers to God while 'prayer' refers to the individual devotional traditions of the Orthodox.
Axion estin, or It is Truly Meet, is a megalynarion and a theotokion, i.e. a magnification of and a Hymn to Mary which is chanted in the Divine Services of the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. It is a troparion and a sticheron composed in honor of the Theotokos. The same name also refers to a style of icon of the Theotokos.
The Ypakoë is a troparion chanted at Orthros (Matins) and the Midnight Office on Great Feasts and Sundays throughout the liturgical year in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Ypakoë which is chanted on Sundays is found in the Octoechos and there are eight of them, according to the Tone of the Week. The Ypakoë used at one of the Great Feasts will be written in the tone of the hymnographer's choice.
A liturgical book, or service book, is a book published by the authority of a church body that contains the text and directions for the liturgy of its official religious services.