Synaxis

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Icon of the Synaxis of the Theotokos (Pskov, 17th century). Synaxis of the Theotokos (15th c., P.Korin's house-museum).jpg
Icon of the Synaxis of the Theotokos (Pskov, 17th century).

A Synaxis (Greek : Σύναξις; Slavonic: Собор, Sobor) is a liturgical assembly in Eastern Christianity (the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite), generally for the celebration of Vespers, Matins, Little Hours and the Divine Liturgy.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

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.

Eastern Christianity Christian traditions originating from Greek- and Syriac-speaking populations

Eastern Christianity comprises church families that developed outside the Occident, with major bodies including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, and the denominations descended from the Church of the East. Reformed Eastern(Orthodox) Churches such as the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church which follows the Antiochean rite and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church is also an Eastern Christian church that uses the Byzantine Rite. The term is used in contrast with Western Christianity, although its scope has been one of continual discussion. Eastern Christianity consists of the Christian traditions and churches that developed distinctively over several centuries in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Malabar coast of South India, and parts of the Far East. The term does not describe a single communion or religious denomination. Some Eastern churches have more in common historically and theologically with Western Christianity than with one another. The various Eastern churches do not normally refer to themselves as "Eastern", with the exception of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East.

Eastern Catholic Churches Autonomous, self-governing particular Churches in full communion with the Pope

The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, and in some historical cases Uniate Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian particular churches sui iuris in full communion with the Pope in Rome, as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. Headed by patriarchs, metropolitans, and major archbishops, the Eastern Catholic Churches are governed in accordance with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, although each church also has its own canons and laws on top of this, and the preservation of their own traditions is explicitly encouraged. The total membership of the various churches accounts for about 18 million, according to the Annuario Pontificio, thus making up about 1.5 percent of the Catholic Church, with the rest of its more than 1.3 billion members belonging to the Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church.

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Feast day

In Constantinople, the clergy and faithful would often gather together on specific feast days at a church dedicated to the saint of that day for liturgical celebrations. These gatherings were referred to as synaxes. These synaxes came to have services written specifically for them. A Synaxis often occurs on the day following a Major Feast Day and is in honor of saints who participated in the event. For example, services on the Feast of Theophany (the revelation of the Trinity at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan) would be held at Hagia Sophia; then, the next day, a Synaxis was observed in honor of St. John the Forerunner at the church dedicated to him. Over time, the synaxes came into general use and are now celebrated in every church.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city is located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul. The city is still referred to as Constantinople in Greek-speaking sources.

Epiphany (holiday) Christian feast, public holiday in some countries

Epiphany, also Theophany, Denha, Little Christmas, or Three Kings' Day, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Moreover, the feast of the Epiphany, in some Western Christian denominations, also initiates the liturgical season of Epiphanytide. Eastern Christians, on the other hand, commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. Qasr el Yahud in the West Bank, and Al-Maghtas in Jordan on the east bank, is considered to be the original site of the baptism of Jesus and the ministry of John the Baptist.

Trinity Christian doctrine that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine Persons". The three Persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is. Sometimes differing views are referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism and Monarchianism, of which Modalistic Monarchianism and Unitarianism are subsets.

Synaxis can also refer to a common commemoration of a number of saints in a single service, such as the Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles. Each individual saint may have his or her own separate feast day, but they are all commemorated together on their synaxis.

Most synaxes are observed as fixed feasts, being celebrated on the same calendar date year after year, though some occur on the nearest Sunday to a particular date. Other synaxes are celebrated on the Paschal cycle, moving backward or forward in the calendar according to the date of Pascha (Easter) that year.

Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar liturgical calendar used within Eastern Orthodox churches

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.

Paschal cycle Cycle of feasts in Eastern Orthodoxy

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. This period includes the three weeks preceding Great Lent, the forty days of Lent, and Holy Week. The 50 days following Pascha are called the Pentecostarion.

The following are Synaxes which are universally observed in the Rite of Constantinople:

Pentecost Christian holy day commemorating the New Testament account of Holy Spirits descent upon the Apostles

The Christian holy day of Pentecost, which is celebrated fifty days after Easter Sunday, commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles.

There are also synaxes which have been composed for local observance:

Assembly

A Synaxis is a group of churchmen - especially in the Orthodox Church - who would otherwise compose a Synod but lack an officiating Patriarch.

Because they did not recognize the authority of the Latin Patriarchs following the Council of Florence, the group of churchmen opposing the Council and its Union called themselves the Synaxis. The most influential and famous of these was the monk Gennadios, better known as Georgios Scholarios, who later became Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

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