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The Paschal cycle, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the cycle of the moveable feasts built around Pascha (Easter). The cycle consists of approximately ten weeks before and seven weeks after Pascha. The ten weeks before Pascha are known as the period of the Triodion (referring to the liturgical book that contains the services for this liturgical season). This period includes the three weeks preceding Great Lent (the "pre-Lenten period"), the forty days of Lent, and Holy Week. The 50 days following Pascha are called the Pentecostarion (again, named after the liturgical book).
The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 200–260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.
A moveable feast or movable feast is an observance in a Christian liturgical calendar that occurs on a different date in different years.
The Triodion, also called the Lenten Triodion, is the liturgical book used by the Eastern Orthodox Church. The book contains the propers for the fasting period preceding Easter and for the weeks leading up to the fast.
The Sunday of each week has a special commemoration, named for the Gospel reading assigned to that day. Certain other weekdays have special commemorations of their own (see outline, below). The entire cycle revolves around Pascha. The weeks before Pascha end on Sunday (i.e., the Week of the Prodigal Son begins on the Monday that follows the Publican and the Pharisee). This is because everything in the Lenten period is looking forward towards Pascha. Starting on Pascha, the weeks again begin on Sunday (i.e., Thomas Week begins on the Sunday of St. Thomas).
The Gospel in Christian liturgy refers to a reading from the Gospels used during various religious services, including Mass or Divine Liturgy (Eucharist). In many Christian churches, all present stand when a passage from one of the Gospels is read publicly, and sit when a passage from a different part of the Bible is read. The reading of the Gospels, often contained in a liturgical edition containing only the four Gospels, is traditionally done by a minister, priest or deacon, and in many traditions the Gospel Book is brought into the midst of the congregation to be read.
While the Pentecostarion closes after All Saints Sunday, the Paschal cycle continues throughout the entire year, until the beginning of the next Pre-Lenten period. The Tone of the Week, the Epistle and Gospel readings at the Divine Liturgy, and the 11 Matins Gospels with their accompanying hymns are dependent on it.
The liturgical book called Octoechos contains a repertoire of hymns ordered in eight parts according to the eight echoi. Originally created as a hymn book with musical notation in the Stoudios monastery during the 9th century, it is still used in many rites of Eastern Christianity. The hymn book has something in common with the book tonary of the Western Church. Both contained the melodic models of the octoechos system, but the tonary served simply for a modal classification, while the book octoechos is as well organized as a certain temporal of several eight week periods and the word itself means the repertoire of hymns sung during the celebrations of the Sunday Office.
An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles. Those traditionally attributed to Paul are known as Pauline epistles and the others as catholic epistles.
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.
(For fixed feasts, see Eastern Orthodox Church calendar. For this year's date for Pascha, see Easter. For the method used to calculate the date of Pascha, see Computus.)
A fixed feast is an annual celebration that is held on the same calendar date every year, such as Christmas, as distinguished from moveable feasts, such as Easter, whose calendar date varies.
Computus is a calculation that determines the calendar date of Easter. Because the date is based on a calendar-dependent equinox rather than the astronomical one, there are differences between calculations done according to the Julian calendar and the modern Gregorian calendar. The name has been used for this procedure since the early Middle Ages, as it was considered the most important computation of the age.
Zacchaeus, or Zaccheus, was a chief tax-collector at Jericho, mentioned only in the Gospel of Luke. A descendant of Abraham, he was an example of Jesus' personal, earthly mission to bring salvation to the lost. Tax collectors were despised as traitors, and as being corrupt.
The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican is a parable of Jesus that appears in the Gospel of Luke. In Luke 18:9-14, a Pharisee, obsessed by his own virtue, is contrasted with a tax collector who humbly asks God for mercy.
The Last Judgment or The Day of the Lord is part of the eschatological world view of the Abrahamic religions and in the Frashokereti of Zoroastrianism.
Clean Monday, also known as Pure Monday, Ash Monday, Monday of Lent or Green Monday, is the first day of Great Lent throughout Eastern Christianity and is a moveable feast, falling on the 7th Monday before Pascha.
Saint Theodore of Amasea is one of the two recognized saints called Theodore who are venerated as warrior saints and Great Martyrs in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. He is also known as Theodore Tyron. The other saint of the same name is Theodore Stratelates, also known as Theodore of Heraclea, but this second St Theodore may never have had a separate existence. When the epithet is omitted, the reference is usually to St Theodore of Amasea.
Iconoclasm is the social belief in the importance of the destruction of icons and other images or monuments, most frequently for religious or political reasons. People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called iconoclasts, a term that has come to be applied figuratively to any individual who challenges "cherished beliefs or venerated institutions on the grounds that they are erroneous or pernicious".
Great Lent, or the Great Fast, is the most important fasting season in the church year in 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).
The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read either in an annual cycle or in a cycle of several years.
Holy Week in Christianity is the week just before Easter. It is also the last week of Lent, in the West, – Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday – are all included. However, Easter Day, which begins the season of Eastertide, is not. However, traditions observing the Easter Triduum may overlap or displace part of Holy Week or Easter itself within that additional liturgical period.
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.
Eastertide or Paschaltide is a festal season in the liturgical year of Christianity that focuses on celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It begins on Easter Sunday, which initiates Easter Week in Western Christianity, and Bright Week in Eastern Christianity. There are several Eastertide customs across the Christian world, including sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church, and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb. The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches throughout Eastertide. Other Eastertide customs include egg hunting, eating special Easter foods and watching Easter parades.
The Eastern Orthodox Liturgical Calendar describes and dictates the rhythm of the life of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Passages of Holy Scripture, saints and events for commemoration are associated with each date, as are many times special rules for fasting or feasting that correspond to the day of the week or time of year in relationship to the major feast days.
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.
Shrovetide, also known as the Pre-Lenten Season, is the Christian period of preparation before the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent. Shrovetide starts on Septuagesima Sunday, includes Sexagesima Sunday, Quinquagesima Sunday, as well as Shrove Monday, and culminates on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras. One hallmark of Shrovetide is the merrymaking associated with Carnival. On the final day of the season, Shrove Tuesday, many traditional Christians, such as Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics, "make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God's help in dealing with."
Bright Week, Pascha Week or Renewal Week is the name used by the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches for the period of seven days beginning on Easter and continuing up to the following Sunday, which is known as Thomas Sunday. Latin Rite and other Christian groups such as Anglicans refer to this period as Easter Week, not to be confused with the Octave of Easter, which includes the following Sunday.
The Pentecostarion is the liturgical book used by the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches during the Paschal Season which extends from Pascha (Easter) to the Sunday following All Saints Sunday.
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.
Lazarus Saturday in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy is the day before Palm Sunday to which it is liturgically linked. It celebrates the raising of Lazarus of Bethany, the narrative of which is found in the Gospel of John.
The Matins Gospel is the solemn chanting of a lection from one of the Four Gospels during Matins in the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic churches which follow the Byzantine Rite.
Mid-Pentecost or Midfeast, also Meso-Pentecost ; Russian: Преполове́ние Пятидеся́тницы is a feast day which occurs during the Paschal season in the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite.
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.