Troparion

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A hand-drawn Old Believer lubok featuring 'hook and banner notation'. Kryuki.jpg
A hand-drawn Old Believer lubok featuring 'hook and banner notation'.

A troparion (Greek τροπάριον, plural: troparia, τροπάρια; Georgian: ტროპარი, "tropari" Church Slavonic: тропа́рь, tropar) 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.

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.

Georgian language official language of Georgia

Georgian is a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians. It is the official language of Georgia. Georgian is written in its own writing system, the Georgian script. Georgian is the literary language for all regional subgroups of Georgians, including those who speak other Kartvelian languages: Svans, Mingrelians and the Laz.

Church Slavonic language Liturgical language of the Orthodox Church in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

Church Slavonic, also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic, or New Church Slavic, is the conservative Slavic liturgical language used by the Orthodox Church in Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia. The language appears also in the services of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese and occasionally in the services of the Orthodox Church in America. It was also used by the Orthodox Churches in Romanian lands until the late 17th and early 18th centuries, as well as by Roman Catholic Croats in the Early Middle Ages. It is also co-used by Greek Catholic Churches, which are under Roman communion, in Slavic countries, for example the Croatian, Slovak and Ruthenian Greek Catholics, as well as by the Roman Catholic Church.

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The wider meaning of troparion

The word probably derived from a diminutive of the Greek tropos (“something repeated”, “manner”, “fashion”), since the earliest function of the troparion was a refrain during the recitation of the cantica (biblical odes) and the psalms, as such the term was used as a synonym of hypakoe. The early meaning of troparion was related to the monastic hymn book Tropologion or Troparologion. Hence its forms were manifold, they could be simple stanzas like apolytikia, theotokia , but also more elaborated homiletic poems like stichera composed in psalmodic hexameters (probably from stichos, “verse”), or in a more complex meter like the odes composed in cycles called canon . Since these Tropologia in their earliest form were organised according to the Octoechos, troparia were always chanted according to a melos of one of the eight tones used in the Eastern liturgical tradition (Gr. echos, Sl. glas). Today, since the redefinition of the Octoechos according to the hyphos of Constantinople, the monodic form of Orthodox chant distincts the troparic (apolytikia, theotokia, kontakia etc.), the heirmologic (related to the hymns of the Heirmologion), and the sticheraric melos (related to the hymns of the Sticherarion) according to its modal formulas and its tempo.

Theotokion

A Theotokion is a hymn to Mary the Theotokos, which is read or chanted during the Divine Services of the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches.

Sticheron

A sticheron is a hymn of a particular genre that has to be sung during the morning (Orthros) and evening service (Hesperinos) of the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite.

A canon is a structured hymn used in a number of Eastern Orthodox services. It consists of nine odes, based on the Biblical canticles. Most of these are found in the Old Testament, but the final ode is taken from the Magnificat and Song of Zechariah from the New Testament.

The different forms of troparia and their ritual function

In casual, unqualified use, troparion usually refers to the apolytikion (Greek: ἀπολυτίκιον), or "dismissal hymn", a troparion chanted near the end of Vespers which establishes the overall theme for the liturgical day, for which it is called the "troparion of the day". It is chanted again at the beginning of Matins, read at each of the Little Hours, and chanted at the Divine Liturgy following the Little Entrance.

Apolytikion

The Apolytikion 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 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.

Vespers sunset evening prayer service in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours

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.

Matins is the canonical hour originally celebrated by monks in the nighttime and ending at latest at dawn, the time for the canonical hour of lauds. It was also called vigil and was divided into two or three nocturns. The name "matins" originally referred to the dawn office of lauds, which in the shorter summer nights followed with only a minimal break.

A troparion in honor of the Trinity is called a Triadicon (Greek: Τριαδικόν, Slavonic: Troíchen). Often the penultimate in a series of troparia will be a triadicon, usually preceded by, "Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit." There are also special Triadica ("Hymns to the Trinity") which are chanted after Alleluia at the beginning of Matins on weekdays of Great Lent, which differ according to the tone of the week and the day of the week.

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.

Theos Kyrios is a psalm response chanted near the beginning of the Matins service in the Rite of Constantinople, observed by the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches. It is based principally on Psalm 117, the refrain composed of verses v. 27a and 26a.

Great Lent observance in Eastern Christianity

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).

A troparion to the Mother of God (Theotokos) is called a Theotokion (Greek: Θεοτοκίον, Slavonic: Bogorόdichen); plural: Theotokia (Θεοτοκία). Theotokia will often occur at the end of a series of troparia, usually preceded by "Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen." If a Theotokion makes reference to the Crucifixion of Jesus, it is called a stavrotheotokion (Greek: σταυροθεοτοκίον, Slavonic: krestobogoródichen).

<i>Theotokos</i> title given to Mary in Eastern Christianity

Theotokos is a title of Mary, mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Christianity. The usual Latin translations, Dei Genetrix or Deipara, are "Mother of God" or "God-bearer".

Crucifixion of Jesus Jesus crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels

The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea, most likely between AD 30 and 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although there is no consensus among historians on the exact details.

The stanzas of a Canon are troparia, as are the verses interspersed between the Beatitudes at the Divine Liturgy.

Beatitudes literary genre of the Bible

The Beatitudes are eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Each is a proverb-like proclamation, without narrative. Four of the blessings also appear in the Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke, followed by four woes which mirror the blessings.

History

A famous example, whose existence is attested as early as the 4th century, is the Vespers hymn, Phos Hilaron , "Gladsome Light"; another, O Monogenes Yios, "Only Begotten Son", ascribed to Justinian I (527 - 565), occurs in the introductory portion of the Divine Liturgy. Perhaps the earliest set of troparia of known authorship are those of the monk Auxentios (first half of the 5th century), mentioned in his biography but not preserved in any later Byzantine order of service.

Occurrence

At the present time, Troparia occur at the following points in the Divine Services:

Vespers
Matins
Little Hours
Divine Liturgy

Famous troparia

Paschal troparion , Tone V:

Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

Troparion of the Holy Cross , Tone I:

O Lord, save Thy people,
and bless Thine inheritance!
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians*
over their adversaries,
and by virtue of Thy cross,
preserve Thy habitation.

*In monarchies where Eastern Orthodoxy was the state religion, this troparion was often used as a national anthem with the name of the ruler occurring here.
The original Greek text at this point uses one of two alternative forms: tois basileusi kata barbaron, "to the Emperors over the barbarians" when referring to an Orthodox Christian sovereign, or tois eusebesi kat' enantion, "to the pious ones against their adversaries", otherwise.

Troparion of Holy Saturday (The Noble Joseph), Tone II:

The noble Joseph,
when he had taken down Thy most pure body from the Tree,
wrapped it in fine linen and anointed it with spices,
and placed it in a new tomb.

"Axion Estin", a theotokion

It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos,
ever blessed, and most pure, and the Mother of our God:
more honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim.
Without corruption thou gavest birth to God, the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

Troparion of Kassiani (Chanted during Holy Week on Great and Holy Wednesday)

Sensing Thy divinity, O Lord,
a woman of many sins,
takes it upon herself
to become a myrrh-bearer
and in deep mourning
brings before Thee fragrant oil
in anticipation of Thy burial; crying:
"Woe to me! What night falls on me,
what dark and moonless madness
of wild-desire, this lust for sin.
Take my spring of tears
Thou Who drawest water from the clouds,
bend to me, to the sighing of my heart,
Thou who bendedst down the heavens
in Thy secret Incarnation,
I will wash Thine immaculate feet with kisses
and wipe them dry with the locks of my hair;
those very feet whose sound Eve heard
at the dusk in Paradise and hid herself in terror.
Who shall count the multitude of my sins
or the depth of Thy judgment,
O Saviour of my soul?
Do not ignore thy handmaiden,
O Thou whose mercy is endless".

Troparion of the Nativity (in Church Slavonic language):

Troparion of the Nativity.png

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. [1]

See also

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References

  1. "Hymns of the Feast". Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. 2009.