Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only $19.99...
(Also BYZANTINE RITE.)
The Liturgies, Divine Office, forms for the administration of sacraments and for various blessings, sacramentals, and exorcisms, of the Church of Constantinople, which is now, after the Roman Rite, by far the most widely spread in the world. With one insignificant exception the Liturgy of St. James is used once a year at Jerusalem and Zakynthos (Zacynthus) it is followed exclusively by all Orthodox Churches, by the Melkites (Melchites) in Syria and Egypt, the Uniats in the Balkans and the Italo-Greeks in Calabria, Apulia, Sicily, and Corsica. So that more than a hundred millions of Christians perform their devotions according to the Rite of Constantinople.
This is not one of the original parent-rites. It is derived from that of Antioch. Even apart from the external evidence a comparison of the two liturgies will show that Constantinople follows Antioch in the disposition of the parts. There are two original Eastern types of liturgy: that of Alexandria, in which the great Intercession comes before the Consecration, and that of Antioch, in which it follows after the Epiklesis. The Byzantine use in both its Liturgies (of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom) follows exactly the order of Antioch. A number of other parallels make the fact of this derivation clear from internal evidence, as it is from external witness. The tradition of the Church of Constantinople ascribes the oldest of its two Liturgies to St. Basil the Great (d. 379), Metropolitan of Cæsarea in Cappadocia. This tradition is confirmed by contemporary evidence. It is certain that St. Basil made a reformation of the Liturgy of his Church, and that the Byzantine service called after him represents his reformed Liturgy in its chief parts, although it has undergone further modification since his time. St. Basil himself speaks on several occasions of the changes he made in the services of Cæsarea. He writes to the clergy of Neo-Cæsarea in Pontus to complain of opposition against himself on account of the new way of singing psalms introduced by his authority (Ep. Basilii, cvii, Patr. Gr., XXXII, 763). St. Gregory of Nazianzos (Nazianzen, d. 390) says that Basil had reformed the order of prayers (euchon diataxis Orat. xx, P.G., XXXV, 761). Gregory of Nyssa (died c. 395) compares his brother Basil with Samuel because he "carefully arranged the form of the Service" (Hierourgia, In laudem fr. Bas., P.G., XLVI, 808). Prokios (Proclus) of Constantinople (d. 446) writes: "When the great Basil . . . saw the carelessness and degeneracy of men who feared the length of the Liturgy not as if he thought it too long he shortened its form, so as to remove the weariness of the clergy and assistants" (De traditione divinæ Missæ, P.G., XLV, 849).
The first question that presents itself is: What rite was it that Basil modified and shortened? Certainly it was that used at Cæsarea before his time. And this was a local form of the great Antiochene use, doubtless with many local variations and additions. That the original rite that stands at the head of this line of development is that of Antioch is proved from the disposition of the present Liturgy of St. Basil, to which we have already referred; from the fact that, before the rise of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Antioch was the head of the Churches of Asia Minor as well as of Syria (and invariably in the East the patriarchal see gives the norm in liturgical matters, followed and then gradually modified by its suffragan Churches); and lastly by the absence of any other source. At the head of all Eastern rites stand the uses of Antioch and Alexandria. Lesser and later Churches do not invent an entirely new service for themselves, but form their practice on the model of one of these two. Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor in liturgical matters derive from Antioch, just as Egypt, Abyssinia, and Nubia do from Alexandria. The two Antiochene liturgies now extant are;
These are the starting-points of the development we can follow. But it is not to be supposed that St. Basil had before him either of these services, as they now stand, when he made the changes in question. In the first place, his source is rather the Liturgy of St. James than that of the Apostolic Constitutions. There are parallels to both in the Basilian Rite; but the likeness is much greater to that of St. James. From the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer (Vere dignum et justum est, our Preface) to the dismissal, Basil's order is almost exactly that of James. But the now extant Liturgy of St. James (in Brightman, "Liturgies Eastern and Western", 31-68) has itself been considerably modified in later years. Its earlier part especially (the Liturgy of the Catechumens and the Offertory) is certainly later than the time of St. Basil. In any case, then, we must go back to the original Antiochene Rite as the source. But neither was this the immediate origin of the reform. It must be remembered that all living rites are subject to gradual modification through use. The outline and frame remain; into this frame new prayers are fitted. As a general rule liturgies keep the disposition of their parts, but tend to change the text of the prayers. St. Basil took as the basis of his reform the use of Cæsarea in the fourth century. There is reason to believe that that use, while retaining the essential order of the original Antiochene service, had already considerably modified various parts, especially the actual prayers. We have seen, for instance, that Basil shortened the Liturgy. But the service that bears his name is not at all shorter than the present one of St. James. We may, then, suppose that by his time the Liturgy of Cæsarea had been considerably lengthened by additional prayers (this is the common development of Liturgies). When we say, then, that the rite of Constantinople that bears his name is the Liturgy of St. James as modified by St. Basil, it must be understood that Basil is rather the chief turning-point in its development than the only author of the change. It had already passed through a period of development before his time, and it has developed further since. Nevertheless, St. Basil and his reform of the rite of his own city are the starting-point of the special use of Constantinople.
A comparison of the present Liturgy of St. Basil with earlier allusions shows that in its chief parts it is really the service composed by him. Peter the Deacon, who was sent by the Scythian monks to Pope Hormisdas to defend a famous formula they had drawn up ("One of the Trinity was crucified") about the year 512, writes: "The blessed Basil, Bishop of Cæsarea, says in the prayer of the holy altar which is used by nearly the whole East: Give, oh Lord, strength and protection; make the bad good, we pray, keep the good in their virtue; for Thou canst do all things, and no one can withstand Thee; Thou dost save whom Thou wilt and no one can hinder Thy will" (Petri diac. Ep. ad Fulgent, vii, 25, in P.L., LXV, 449). This is a compilation of three texts in the Basilian Liturgy: Keep the good in their virtue; make the bad good by thy mercy (Brightman, op. cit., pp. 333-334); the words: Give, O Lord, strength and protection come several times at the beginning of prayers; and the last words are an acclamation made by the choir or people at the end of several (Renaudot, I, p. xxxvii). The Life of St. Basil ascribed to Amphilochios (P.G., XXIX, 301, 302) quotes as composed by him the beginning of the Introduction-prayer and that of the Elevation exactly as they are in the existing Liturgy (Brightman, 319, 341). The Second Council of Nicæa (787) says: "As all priests of the holy Liturgy know, Basil says in the prayer of the Divine Anaphora: We approach with confidence to the holy altar . . .". The prayer is the one that follows the Anamnesis in St. Basil's Liturgy (Brightman, p. 329. Cf. Hardouin, IV, p. 371).
From these and similar indications we conclude that the Liturgy of St. Basil in its oldest extant form is substantially authentic, namely, from the beginning of the Anaphora to the Communion. The Mass of the Catechumens and the Offertory prayers have developed since his death. St. Gregory Nazianzen, in describing the saint's famous encounter with Valens at Cæsarea, in 372, describes the Offertory as a simpler rite, accompanied with psalms sung by the people but without an audible Offertory prayer (Greg. Naz., Or., xliii, 52, P.G., XXXVI, 561). This oldest form of the Basilian Liturgy is contained in a manuscript of the Barberini Library of about the year 800 (manuscript, III, 55, reprinted in Brightman, 309-344). The Liturgy of St. Basil now used in the Orthodox and Melkite (or Melchite) Churches (Euchologion, Venice, 1898, pp. 75-97; Brightman, 400-411) is printed after that of St. Chrysostom and differs from it only in the prayers said by the priest, chiefly in the Anaphora; it has received further unimportant modifications. It is probable that even before the time of St. John Chrysostom the Liturgy of Basil was used at Constantinople. We have seen that Peter the Deacon mentions that it was "used by nearly the whole East". It would seem that the importance of the See of Cæsarea (even beyond its own exarchy), the fame of St. Basil, and the practical convenience of this short Liturgy led to its adoption by many Churches in Asia and Syria. The "East" in Peter the Deacon's remark would probably mean the Roman Prefecture of the East (Præfectura Orientis) that included Thrace. Moreover, when St. Gregory of Nazianzos came to Constantinople to administer that diocese (381) he found in use there a Liturgy that was practically the same as the one he had known at home in Cappadocia. His Sixth Oration (P.G., XXXV, 721 sq.) was held in Cappadocia, his Thirty-eighth (P.G., XXXVI, 311) at Constantinople. In both he refers to and quotes the Eucharistic prayer that his hearers know. A comparison of the two texts shows that the prayer is the same. This proves that, at any rate in its most important element, the liturgy used at the capital was that of Cappadocia the one that St. Basil used as a basis of his reform. It would therefore be most natural that the reform too should in time be adopted at Constantinople. But it would seem that before Chrysostom this Basilian Rite (according to the universal rule) had received further development and additions at Constantinople. It has been suggested that the oldest form of the Nestorian Liturgy is the original Byzantine Rite, the one that St. Chrysostom found in use when he became patriarch (Probst, "Lit. des IV. Jahrhts.", 413).
The next epoch in the history of the Byzantine Rite is the reform of St. John Chrysostom (d. 407). He not only further modified the Rite of Basil, but left both his own reformed Liturgy and the unreformed Basilian one itself, as the exclusive uses of Constantinople. St. John became Patriarch of Constantinople in 397; he reigned there till 403, was then banished, but came back in the same year; was banished again in 404, and died in exile in 407. The tradition of his Church says that during the time of his patriarchate he composed from the Basilian Liturgy a shorter form that is the one still in common use throughout the Orthodox Church. The same text of Proklos (Proclus) quoted above continues: "Not long afterwards our father, John Chrysostom, zealous for the salvation of his flock as a shepherd should be, considering the carelessness of human nature, thoroughly rooted up every diabolical objection. He therefore left out a great part and shortened all the forms lest anyone . . . stay away from this Apostolic and Divine Institution", etc. He would, then, have treated St. Basil's rite exactly as Basil treated the older rite of Cæsarea. There is no reason to doubt this tradition in the main issue. A comparison of the Liturgy of Chrysostom with that of Basil will show that it follows the same order and is shortened considerably in the text of the prayers; a further comparison of its text with the numerous allusions to the rite of the Holy Eucharist in Chrysostom's homilies will show that the oldest form we have of the Liturgy agrees substantially with the one he describes (Brightman, 530-534). But it is also certain that the modern Liturgy of St. Chrysostom has received considerable modifications and additions since his time. In order to reconstruct the rite used by him we must take away from the present Liturgy all the Preparation of the Offerings (Proskomide), the ritual of the Little and Great Entrances, and the Creed. The service began with the bishop's greeting, "Peace to all", and the answer, "And with thy spirit." The lessons followed from the Prophets and Apostles, and the deacon read the Gospel. After the Gospel the bishop or a priest preached a homily, and the prayer over the catechumens was said. Originally it had been followed by a prayer over penitents, but Nektarios (381-397) had abolished the discipline of public penance, so in St. Chrysostom's Liturgy this prayer is left out. Then came a prayer for the faithful (baptized) and the dismissal of the catechumens. St. Chrysostom mentions a new ritual for the Offertory: the choir accompanied the bishop and formed a solemn procession to bring the bread and wine from the prothesis to the altar (Hom. xxxvi, in I Cor., vi, P.G., LXI, 313). Nevertheless the present ceremonies and the Cherubic Chant that accompany the Great Entrance are a later development (Brightman, op. cit., 530). The Kiss of Peace apparently preceded the Offertory in Chrysostom's time (Brightman, op. cit., 522, Probst, op. cit., 208). The Eucharistic prayer began, as everywhere, with the dialogue: "Lift up your hearts" etc. This prayer, which is clearly an abbreviated form of that in the Basilian Rite, is certainly authentically of St. Chrysostom. It is apparently chiefly in reference to it that Proklos says that he has shortened the older rite. The Sanctus was sung by the people as now. The ceremonies performed by the deacon at the words of Institution are a later addition. Probst thinks that the original Epiklesis of St. Chrysostom ended at the words "Send thy Holy Spirit down on us and on these gifts spread before us" (Brightman, op. cit., 386), and that the continuation (especially the disconnected interruption: God be merciful to me a sinner, now inserted into the Epiklesis; Maltzew, "Die Liturgien" etc., Berlin, 1894, p. 88) are a later addition (op. cit., 414). The Intercession followed at once, beginning with a memory of the saints. The prayer for the dead came before that for the living (ibid., 216-415). The Eucharistic prayer ended with a doxology to which the people answered, Amen; and then the bishop greeted them with the text, "The mercy of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ be with all of you" (Titus 2:13), to which they answered: "And with thy spirit", as usual. The Lord's Prayer followed, introduced by a short litany spoken by the deacon and followed by the well-known doxology: "For thine is the kingdom" etc. This ending was added to the Our Father in the Codex of the New Testament used by St. Chrysostom (cf. Hom. xix in P.G., LVII, 282). Another greeting (Peace to all) with its answer introduced the manual acts, first an Elevation with the words "Holy things for the holy" etc., the Breaking of Bread and the Communion under both kinds. In Chrysostom's time it seems that people received either kind separately, drinking from the chalice. A short prayer of thanksgiving ended the Liturgy. That is the rite as we see it in the saint's homilies (cf. Probst., op. cit., 156-202, 202-226). It is true that most of these homilies were preached at Antioch (387-397) before he went to Constantinople. It would seem, then, that the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom was in great part that of his time at Antioch, and that he introduced it at the capital when he became patriarch. We have seen from Peter the Deacon that St. Basil's Rite was used by "nearly the whole East". There is, then, no difficulty in supposing that it had penetrated to Antioch and was already abridged there into the "Liturgy of Chrysostom" before that saint brought this abridged form to Constantinople.
It was this Chrysostom Liturgy that gradually became the common Eucharistic service of Constantinople, and that spread throughout the Orthodox world, as the city that had adopted it became more and more the acknowledged head of Eastern Christendom. It did not completely displace the older rite of St. Basil, but reduced its use to a very few days in the year on which it is still said (see below, under II). Meanwhile the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom itself underwent further modification. The oldest form of it now extant is in the same manuscript of the Barberini Library that contains St. Basil's Liturgy. In this the elaborate rite of the Proskomide has not yet been added, but it has already received additions since the time of the saint whose name it bears. The Trisagion (Holy God, Holy Strong One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us) at the Little Entrance is said to have been revealed to Proklos of Constantinople (434-47, St. John Dam., De Fide Orth., III, 10); this probably gives the date of its insertion into the Liturgy. The Cherubikon that accompanies the Great Entrance was apparently added by Justin II (565-78, Brightman, op. cit., 532), and the Creed that follows, just before the beginning of the Anaphora, is also ascribed to him (Joannis Biclarensis Chronicon, P.L., LXXII, 863). Since the Barberini Euchologion (ninth cent.) the Preparation of the Offerings (proskomide) at the credence-table (called prothesis) gradually developed into the elaborate rite that now accompanies it. Brightman (op. cit., 539-552) gives a series of documents from which the evolution of this rite may be traced from the ninth to the sixteenth century.
These are the two Liturgies of Constantinople, the older one of St. Basil, now said on only a few days, and the later shortened one of St. Chrysostom that is in common use. There remains the third, the Liturgy of the Presanctified (ton proegiasmenon). This service, that in the Latin Church now occurs only on Good Friday, was at one time used on the aliturgical days of Lent everywhere (see ALITURGICAL DAYS and Duchesne, Origines, 222, 238). This is still the practice of the Eastern Churches. The Paschal Chronicle (see CHRONICON PASCHALE) of the year 645 (P.G., XCII) mentions the Presanctified Liturgy, and the fifty-second canon of the Second Trullan Council (692) orders: "On all days of the fast of forty days, except Saturdays and Sundays and the day of the Holy Annunciation, the Liturgy of the Presanctified shall be celebrated." The essence of this Liturgy is simply that the Blessed Sacrament that has been consecrated on the preceding Sunday, and is reserved in the tabernacle (artophorion) under both kinds, is taken out and distributed as Communion. It is now always celebrated at the end of Vespers (hesperinos), which form its first part. The lessons are read as usual, and the litanies sung; the catechumens are dismissed, and then, the whole Anaphora being naturally omitted, Communion is given; the blessing and dismissal follow. A great part of the rite is simply taken from the corresponding parts of St. Chrysostom's Liturgy. The present form, then, is a comparatively late one that supposes the normal Liturgies of Constantinople. It has been attributed to various persons St. James, St. Peter, St. Basil, St. Germanos I of Constantinople (715-30), and so on (Brightman, op. cit., p. xciii). But in the service books it is now officially ascribed to St. Gregory Dialogos (Pope Gregory I). It is impossible to say how this certainly mistaken ascription began. The Greek legend is that, when he was apocrisiarius at Constantinople (578), seeing that the Greeks had no fixed rite for this Communion-service, he composed this one for them.
The origin of the Divine Office and of the rites for sacraments and sacramentals in the Byzantine Church is more difficult to trace. Here too we have now the result of a long and gradual development; and the starting-point of that development is certainly the use of Antioch. But there are no names that stand out as clearly as do those of St. Basil and St. Chrysostom in the history of the Liturgy. We may perhaps find the trace of a similar action on their part in the case of the Office. The new way of singing psalms introduced by St. Basil (Ep. cvii, see above) would in the first place affect the canonical Hours. It was the manner of singing psalms antiphonally, that is alternately by two choirs, to which we are accustomed, that had already been introduced at Antioch in the time of the Patriarch Leontios (Leontius, 344-57; Theodoret, Church History II.24). We find one or two other allusions to reforms in various rites among the works of St. Chrysostom; thus he desires people to accompany funerals by singing psalms (Hom. iv, in Ep. ad Hebr., P.G., LXIII, 43) etc.
With regard to the Divine Office especially, it has the same general principles in East and West from a very early age (see BREVIARY). Essentially it consists in psalm-singing. Its first and most important part is the Night-watch (pannychis, our Nocturns); at dawn the orthros (Lauds) was sung; during the day the people met again at the third, sixth, and ninth hours, and at sunset for the hesperinos (Vespers). Besides the psalms these Offices contained lessons from the Bible and collects. A peculiarity of the Antiochene use was the "Gloria in excelsis" sung at the Orthros (Ps.-Athan., De Virg., xx, P.G., XXVIII, 276); the evening hymn, Phos ilaron, still sung in the Byzantine Rite at the Hesperinos and attributed to Athenogenes (in the second cent.), is quoted by St. Basil (On the Holy Spirit 73). Egeria of Aquitaine, the pilgrim to Jerusalem, gives a vivid description of the Office as sung there according to Antioch in the fourth century ["S. Silviæ (sic) peregrin.", ed. Gamurrini, Rome, 1887]. To this series of Hours two were added in the fourth century. John Cassian (Instit., III, iv) describes the addition of Prime by the monks of Palestine, and St. Basil refers (loc. cit.) to Complin (apodeipnon) as the monks' evening prayer. Prime and Complin, then, were originally private prayers said by monks in addition to the official Hours. The Antiochene manner of keeping this Office was famous all over the East. Flavian of Antioch in 387 softened the heart of Theodosius (after the outrage to the statues) by making his clerks sing to him "the suppliant chants of Antioch" (Sozomen, Church History VII.23). And St. John Chrysostom, as soon as he comes to Constantinople, introduces the methods of Antioch in keeping the canonical Hours (16, VIII, 8). Eventually the eastern Office admits short services (mesoorai) between the day Hours, and between Vespers and Complin. Into this frame a number of famous poets have fitted a long succession of canons (unmetrical hymns); of these poets St. Romanos the singer (sixth cent.), St. Cosmas the singer (eighth cent.), St. John Damascene (c. 780), St. Theodore of Studion (d. 826), etc., are the most famous (see BYZANTINE LITERATURE, sub-title IV. Ecclesiastical etc.). St. Sabas (d. 532) and St. John Damascene eventually arranged the Office for the whole year, though, like the Liturgy, it has undergone further development since, till it acquired its present form (see below).
The Rite of Constantinople now used throughout the Orthodox Church does not maintain any principle of uniformity in language. In various countries the same prayers and forms are translated (with unimportant variations) into what is supposed to be more or less the vulgar tongue. As a matter of fact, however, it is only in Rumania that the liturgical language is the same as that of the people. Greek (from which all the others are translated) is used at Constantinople, in Macedonia (by the Patriarchists), Greece, by Greek monks in Palestine and Syria, by nearly all Orthodox in Egypt; Arabic in parts of Syria, Palestine, and by a few churches in Egypt; Old Slavonic throughout Russia, in Bulgaria, and by all Exarchists, in Czernagora, Servia, and by the Orthodox in Austria and Hungary; and Rumanian by the Church of that country. These four are the principal languages. Later Russian missions use Esthonian, Lettish, and German in the Baltic provinces, Finnish and Tatar in Finland and Siberia, Chinese, and Japanese. (Brightman, op. cit., LXXXI-LXXXII). Although the Liturgy has been translated into English (see Hapgood, op. cit. in bibliography), a translation is never used in any church of the Greek Rite. The Uniats use Greek at Constantinople, in Italy, and partially in Syria and Egypt, Arabic chiefly in these countries, Old Slavonic in Slav lands, and Rumanian in Rumania. It is curious to note that in spite of this great diversity of languages the ordinary Orthodox layman no more understands his Liturgy than if it were in Greek. Old Slavonic and the semi-classical Arabic in which it is sung are dead languages.
It is well known that the Orthodox still use the Julian Calendar (Old Style). By this time (1908) they are thirteen days behind us. Their liturgical year begins on 1 September, "the beginning of the Indict, that is of the new year". On 15 November begins the first of their four great fasts, the "fast of Christ's birth" that lasts till Christmas (25 December). The fast of Easter begins on the Monday after the sixth Sunday before Easter, and they abstain from flesh-meat after the seventh Sunday before the feast (our Sexagesima). The fast of the Apostles lasts from the day after the first Sunday after Pentecost (their All Saints' Day) till 28 June, the fast of the Mother of God from 1 August to 14 August. Throughout this year fall a great number of feasts. The great cycles are the same as ours Christmas, followed by a Memory of the Mother of God on 26 December, then St. Stephen on 27 December, etc. Easter, Ascension Day, and Whitsunday follow as with us. Many of the other feasts are the same as ours, though often with different names. They divide them into three categories, feasts of our Lord (heortai despotikai), of the Mother of God (theometrikai), and of the saints (ton hagion). They count the "Holy meeting" (with St. Simeon, 2 February), the Annunciation (25 March), the Awakening of Lazarus (Saturday before Palm Sunday), etc., as feasts of Our Lord. The chief feasts of Our Lady are her birthday (8 September), Presentation in the Temple (21 November), Conception (9 December), Falling-asleep (koimesis, 15 August), and the Keeping of her Robe at the Blachernæ (at Constantinople, 2 July). Feasts are further divided according to their solemnity into three classes: great, middle, and less days. Easter of course stands alone as greatest of all. It is "The Feast" (he heorte, al-id); there are twelve other very great days and twelve great ones. Certain chief saints (the Apostles, the three holy hierarchs Sts. Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom 30 January, the holy and equal-to-the-Apostles Sovereigns, Constantine and Helen, etc.) have middle feasts; all the others are lesser ones. The Sundays are named after the subject of their Gospel; the first Sunday of Lent is the feast of Orthodoxy (after Iconoclasm), the Saturdays before Meatless Sunday (our Sexagesima) and Whitsunday are All Souls' days. Our Trinity Sunday is their All Saints. Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year are days of abstinence (Fortescue, "Orth. Eastern Church", 398-401).
The Byzantine Rite has no such compendiums as our Missal and Breviary; it is contained in a number of loosely arranged books. They are: the Typikon), a perpetual calendar containing full directions for all feasts and all possible coincidences. The (Euchologion) contains the priest's part of the Hesperinos, Orthros, the three Liturgies, and other sacraments and sacramentals. The Triodion contains the variable parts of the Liturgy and Divine Office (except the psalms, Epistles, and Gospels) for the movable days from the tenth Sunday before Easter to Holy Saturday. The Pentekostarion continues the Triodion from Easter Day to the first Sunday after Pentecost (All Saints' Sunday). The Oktoechos gives the Offices of the Sundays for the rest of the year (arranged according to the eight modes to which they are sung okto echoi) and the Parakletike is for the weekdays. The twelve Menaias, one for each month, contain the Proper of Saints; the Menologion is a shortened version of the Menaia, and the Horologion contains the choir's part of the day Hours. The Psalter (psalterion), Gospel (enaggelion), and Apostle (apostolos Epistles and Acts) contain the parts of the Bible read (Fortescue, "Orth. E. Ch.", 401-402; Nilles, "Kal. Man.", XLIV-LVI; Kattenbusch, "Confessionskunde", I, 478-486).
A church of the Byzantine Rite should have only one altar. In a few very large ones there are side-chapels with altars, and the Uniats sometimes copy the Latin multitude of altars in one church; this in an abuse that is not consistent with their rite. The altar (he hagia trapeza) stands in the middle of the sanctuary (ierateion); it is covered to the ground with a linen cloth over which is laid a silk or velvet covering. The Euchologion, a folded antimension, and perhaps one or two other instruments used in the Liturgy are laid on it; nothing else. [See ALTAR (IN THE GREEK CHURCH).] Behind the altar, round the apse, are seats for priests with the bishop's throne in the middle (in every church). On the north side of the altar stands a large credence-table (prothesis); the first part of the Liturgy is said here. On the south side is the diakonikon, a sort of sacristy where vessels and vestments are kept; but it is in no way walled off from the rest of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is divided from the rest of the church by the ikonostasis (eikonostasis, picture-screen), a great screen stretching across the whole width and reaching high up to the roof (see sub-title The Iconostasis s.v. HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN ALTAR). On the outside it is covered with a great number of pictures of Christ and the saints, arranged in a more or less determined order (Christ always to the right of the royal doors and the Bl. Virgin on the left), before which rows of lamps are hung. The ikonostasis has three doors, the "royal door" in the middle, the deacon's door to the south (right hand as one enters the church), and another door to the north. Between the royal door and the deacon's door the bishop has another throne facing the people. Immediately outside the ikonostasis is the choir. A great part of the services take place here. In the body of the church the people stand (there are no seats as a rule); then comes the narthex, a passage across the church at the west end, from which one enters by doors into the nave. Most of the funeral rites and other services take place in the narthex. Churches are roofed as a rule by a succession of low cupolas, often five (if the church is cross-shaped). In Russia there is generally a belfry. The vestments were once the same as the Latin ones, though now they look very different. It is a curious case of parallel evolution. The bishop wears over his cassock the sticharion our alb; it is often of silk and coloured; then the epitrachelion, a stole of which the two ends are sewn together and hang straight down in front, with a loop through which the head is passed. The sticharion and epitrachelion are held together by the zone (girdle), a narrow belt of stuff with clasps. Over the wrists he wears the epimanikia, cuffs or gloves with the part for the hand cut off. From the girdle the epigonation, a diamond-shaped piece of stuff, stiffened with cardboard, hangs down to the right knee. Lastly, he wears over all the sakkos, a vestment like our dalmatic. Over the sakkos comes the omophorion. This is a great pallium of silk embroidered with crosses. There is also a smaller omophorion for some rites. He has a pectoral cross, an enkolpion (a medal containing a relic), a mitre formed of metal and shaped like an imperial crown, and a dikanikion, or crosier, shorter than ours and ending in two serpents between which is a cross. To give his blessing in the Liturgy he uses the trikerion in his right and the dikerion in his left hand. These are a triple and double candlestick with candles. The priest wears the sticharion, epitrachelion, zone, and epimanikia. If he is a dignitary he wears the epigonation and (in Russia) the mitre also. Instead of a sakkos he has a phainolion, our chasuble, but reaching to the feet behind and at the sides, and cut away in front (see CHASUBLE and illustrations). The deacon wears the sticharion and epimanikia, but no girdle. His stole is called an orarion; it is pinned to the left shoulder and hangs straight down, except that he winds it around his body and over the right shoulder at the Communion. It is embroidered with the word "HAGIOS" three times. A very common abuse (among Melkites too) is for other servers to wear the orarion. This is expressly forbidden by the Council of Laodicea (c. 360, can. xxii). The Byzantine Rite has no sequence of liturgical colours. They generally use black for funerals, otherwise any colours for any day. The vessels used for the holy Liturgy are the chalice and paten (diskos), which latter is much larger than ours and has a foot to stand it (it is never put on the chalice), the asteriskos (a cross of bent metal that stands over the paten to prevent the veil from touching the holy bread), the spoon (labis) for giving Communion, the spear (logche) to cut up the bread, and the fan (hripidion) which the deacon waves over the Blessed Sacrament this is a flat piece of metal shaped like an angel's head with six wings and a handle. The antimension) is a kind of corporal containing relics that is spread out at the beginning of the Liturgy. It is really a portable altar. The Holy Bread (always leavened of course) is made as a flat loaf marked in squares to be cut up during the Proskomide with the letters IC. XC. NI. KA. (Iesous Christos nika). In the diakonikon a vessel is kept with hot water for the Liturgy (Fortescue, op. cit., 403-409; "Echos d'Orient", V, 129-139; R. Storff, "Die griech. Liturg.", 13-14).
The singing in the Byzantine Rite is always unaccompanied. No musical instrument of any kind may be used in their churches. They have a plain chant of eight modes that correspond to ours, except that they are numbered differently; the four authentic modes (Doric, Phrygian, Lydian, and Mixolydian our 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th) come first, then the Plagal modes (our 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th). But their scales are different. Whereas our plainsong is strictly diatonic, theirs is enharmonic with variable intervals. They always sing in unison and frequently change the mode in the middle of a chant. One singer (generally a boy) sings the dominant (to ison) of the mode to the sound of A continuously, while the rest execute their elaborate pneums (see PLAIN CHANT). The result is generally to our ears unmelodious and strange, though in some cases a carefully trained choir produces a fine effect. One of the best is that of St. Anne's (Melkite) College at Jerusalem, trained by the French Pères Blancs. One of these, Père Rebours, has written an exhaustive and practical treatise of their chant ("Traité de psaltique" etc.; see bibliography). In Russia and lately, to some extent, in the metropolitan church of Athens they sing figured music in parts of a very stately and beautiful kind. It is probably the most beautiful and suitable church music in the world.
The present use of the Byzantine Rite confines the older Liturgy of St. Basil to the Sundays in Lent (except Palm Sunday), Maundy Thursday, and Holy Saturday, also the eves of Christmas and the Epiphany, and St. Basil's feast (1 January). On all other days on which the Liturgy is celebrated they use that of St. Chrysostom. But on the weekdays in Lent (except Saturdays) they may not consecrate, so they use for them the Liturgy of the Presanctified. An Orthodox priest does not celebrate every day, but as a rule only on Sundays and feast-days. The Uniats, however, in this, as in many other ways, imitate the Latin custom. They also have a curious principle that the altar as well as the celebrant must be fasting, that is to say that it must not have been used already on the same day. So there is only one Liturgy a day in an Orthodox Church. Where many priests are present they concelebrate, all saying the Anaphora together over the same offerings. This happens nearly always when a bishop celebrates; he is surrounded by his priests, who celebrate with him. The Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, as being the one commonly used, is always printed first in the Euchologia. It is the framework into which the others are fitted and the greater part of the Liturgy is always said according to this form. After it are printed the prayers of St. Basil (always much longer) which are substituted for some of the usual ones when his rite is used, and then the variants of the Liturgy of the Presanctified. The Liturgies of Basil and Chrysostom, then, differing only in a certain number of the prayers, may be described together.
The first rubric directs that the celebrant must be reconciled to all men, keep his heart from evil thoughts, and be fasting since midnight. At the appointed hour (usually immediately after None) the celebrant and deacon (who communicates and must therefore also be fasting) say the preparatory prayers before the ikonostasis (Brightman, op. cit., 353-354), kiss the holy ikons, and go into the diakonikon. Here they vest, the celebrant blessing each vestment as it is put on, say certain prayers, and wash their hands, saying verses 6-12 of Psalm 25 ("Lavabo inter innocentes" etc., op. cit., 354-356). Then the first part of the Liturgy, the Preparation of the Offering (proskomide) begins at the credence table (prothesis). The loaves of bread (generally five) are marked in divisions as described above under the caption Altar, etc. The celebrant cuts away with the holy lance the parts marked IC. XC. NI. KA., and says: "The Lamb of God is sacrificed." These parts are then called the Lamb. The deacon pours wine and warm water into the chalice. Other parts of the bread are cut away in honour of the All-holy Theotokos, nine for various saints, and others for the bishop, Orthodox clergy, and various people for whom he wishes to pray. This rite is accompanied by many prayers, the particles (prosphorai) are arranged on the diskos (paten) by the Lamb (that of the Theotokos on the right, because of the verse "The Queen stands at thy right hand". A long rubric explains all this), covered with the asteriskos and veils, and the offerings are repeatedly incensed. The deacon then incenses the prothesis, altar, sanctuary, nave, and the celebrant. (A detailed account of the now elaborate rite of the Proskomide is given in the "Echos d'Orient", III, 65-78.) They then go to the altar, kiss the Gospel on it and the deacon holding up his orarion says: It is time to sacrifice to the Lord. Here begin the Litanies (ektenai or synaptai). The doors of the ikonostasis are opened, and the deacon goes out through the north door. Standing before the royal doors he chants the Great Litany, praying for peace, the Church, the patriarch or synod (in Orthodox countries for the sovereign and his family), the city, travellers, etc., etc. To each clause the choir answer "Kyrie eleison". Then follows the first antiphon (on Sundays Psalm 102), and the celebrant at the altar says a prayer. The Short Litany is sung in the same way (the clauses are different, Brightman, op. cit., 362-375) with an antiphon and prayer, and then a third litany; on Sundays the third antiphon is the Beatitudes.
Here follows the Little Entrance. The deacon has gone back to the celebrant's side. They come out through the north door in procession, the deacon holding the book of the Gospels, with acolytes bearing candles. The troparia (short hymns) are sung, ending with the Trisagion: "Holy God, Holy Strong One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us" (three times) ; then "Glory be to the Father", etc. "As it was in the beginning", etc. and again "Holy God", etc. Meanwhile the celebrant says other prayers. A reader sings the Epistle; a Gradual is sung; the deacon sings the Gospel, having incensed the book; more prayers follow. Then come prayers for the catechumens, and they are dismissed by the deacon: "All catechumens go out. Catechumens go out. All catechumens go away. Not one of the catechumens [shall stay]." Of course nowadays there are no catechumens. The prayers for the catechumens bring us to the first variant between the two Liturgies. The one said by the celebrant is different (and, as an exception, shorter) in St. Basil's rite (Brightman, op. cit., 374 and 401). The deacon says, "All the faithful again and again pray to the Lord in peace", and repeats several times the curious exclamation "Wisdom!" (sophia) that occurs repeatedly in the Byzantine Rite before the Gospel he says "Wisdom! Upright!" sophia. orthoi., meaning that the people should stand up.
The Liturgy of the Faithful begins here. Prayers for the faithful follow (different in the two rites, Brightman, op. cit., 375-377 and 400-401); and then comes the dramatic moment of the Liturgy, the Great Entrance. The celebrant and deacon go to the prothesis, the offerings are incensed. The deacon covers his shoulders with the great veil (see ÆR) and takes the diskos (paten) with the bread; the thurible hangs from his hand; the celebrant follows with the chalice. Acolytes go in front and form a solemn procession. Meanwhile the choir sings the Cherubic Hymn (Cheroubikos hymnos): "Let us, who mystically represent the Cherubim, and who sing to the Life-giving Trinity the thrice holy hymn, put away all earthly cares so as to receive the King of all things [here the procession comes out through the north door] escorted by the army of angels. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia." The procession goes meanwhile all round the church and enters the sanctuary by the royal doors. The Cherubic Hymn has a very elaborate and effective melody (Rebours, op. cit., 156-164) with almost endless pneums. This ceremony, with its allusion to the entrance of the "King of all things" before the offerings are consecrated, is a curious instance of a dramatic representation that anticipates the real moment of the Consecration. After some more prayers at the altar, different in the two liturgies, the deacon cries out, "The doors! The doors! Let us attend in wisdom", and the doors of the ikonostasis are shut. The Creed is then sung.
Here begins the Anaphora (Canon). There is first a dialogue, "Lift up your hearts" etc., as with us, and the celebrant begins the Eucharistic prayer: "It is meet and just to sing to Thee, to bless Thee, praise Thee and give thanks to Thee in all places. . . ." The form in St. Basil's Rite is much longer. It is not said aloud, but at the end he lifts up his voice and says: "Crying, singing, proclaiming the hymn of victory and saying:" and the choir sings "Holy, Holy, Holy" etc., as in our Mass. Very soon, after a short prayer (considerably longer in St. Basil's Rite) the celebrant comes to the words of Institution. He lifts up his Voice and sings: "Take and eat: this is my Body that is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins"; and through the Ikonostasis the choir answers "Amen". Then: "Drink ye all of this, this is my Blood of the New Testament that is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins." R. Amen as before. The Orthodox, as is known, do not believe that these words consecrate, so they go straight on to the Anamnesis, and a special rubric in their Euchologion (ed. Venice, 1898, p. 63) warns them not to make any reverence here. The Uniats, on the other hand, make a profound reverence after each form. The Anamnesis (our "Unde et memores") again is longer in the Basilian Liturgy. The Epiklesis follows. The deacon invites the celebrant in each case: "Bless, sir, the holy bread [or wine]." The two forms (of Basil and Chrysostom) may stand as specimens of the principle of abbreviation that distinguishes the later rite. In St. Basil's Liturgy it is: "We pray and beseech thee, O Holy of Holy ones, that according to the mercy of thy favour thy Holy Spirit come down on us and on these present gifts to bless them, sanctify them and to make...." (Chrysostom: "Send down thy Holy Spirit on us and on these present gifts...."). Then, after an irrelevant interpolation, with two verses from Psalm 50 about the celebrant's own soul, he continues (Basil): "this bread the precious Body itself of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Chrys.: "and make this bread the precious Body of thy Christ"). Deacon: "Amen. Bless, Sir, the holy chalice." Celebrant (Basil): "But this chalice the Precious Blood itself of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Chrys.: "And what it is in this Chalice the precious Blood of Thy Christ"). Deacon: "Amen. Bless, Sir, both." Celebrant (Basil): "That was shed for the life and salvation of the world" (Chrys.: "Changing it by thy Holy Spirit"). Deacon: "Amen. Amen. Amen." Both then make a deep prostration, and the deacon waves the ripidion (fan) over the Blessed Sacrament. This ceremony, now interpreted mystically as a symbol of adoring angels, was certainly once a practical precaution. They have no pall over the chalice and there is a danger of flies. The waving of the ripidion occurs several times during the Liturgy. In the Byzantine Rite, as in all the Antiochene family of liturgies, the Intercession follows at this point. First comes a memory of saints; the deacon then reads the Diptychs of the Dead, and the celebrant says a prayer into which he may introduce the names of any of the faithful departed for whom he wishes to pray. Prayers for the living follow (in Russia for the second time occur the names of "Our Orthodox and Christ-loving Lord Nicholas, Czar and Autocrat of all the Russias" and of all his "right-believing and God-fearing" family), with the names of the patriarch (or Synod) and metropolitan, and the ending; "and all [masc.] and all [fem.]" kai panton kai pason. The deacon then reads the Diptychs of the Living; more prayers for them follow. Here ends the Anaphora. The celebrant blesses the people: "The mercy of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ be with all of you." Choir: "And with thy spirit." And the deacon goes out to his place before the ikonostasis and reads a litany, praying for various spiritual and temporal favours, to each clause of which the choir answers: "Kyrie eleison", and at the last clause "Having prayed in the union of faith and in the communion of the Holy Ghost, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ, our God." To Thee, O Lord (Soi, Kyrie). Meanwhile the celebrant says a long prayer silently. The people sing the Lord's Prayer, and the celebrant adds the clause: For Thine is the Kingdom" etc. The Inclination follows. The deacon says, "Bow your heads to the Lord" (our "Humiliate capita vestra Domino"); they answer, "To Thee, O Lord", and the celebrant says the Prayer of Inclination (different in the two Liturgies). The preparation for Communion begins here. The deacon winds his orarion (stole) around his body, the curtain of the royal doors (they have besides the doors a curtain that is continually drawn backward and forward during the Liturgy) is drawn back, and the celebrant elevates the Holy Eucharist saying, "Holy things for the holy", to which the answer is: "One only is holy, one only is Lord, Jesus Christ in the glory of God the Father. Amen." The Communion hymn (koinonikon) of the day is sung, and the Communion begins. While the clergy Communicate in the Sanctuary a sermon is sometimes preached. The celebrant breaks the Holy Bread into four parts, as it is marked, and arranges them on the diskos thus: --
N I K A
(Where I=Iota, S=Sigma)
He puts the fraction marked (IOTA-SIGMA) into the chalice, and the deacon again pours into it a little warm water (the use of warm water is a very old peculiarity of this rite).The part marked (CHI-SIGMA) is divided into as many parts as there are priests and deacons to Communicate. Meanwhile, prayers are said; those about to Communicate ask pardon of their offences against each other. The celebrant says, "Behold I draw near to our immortal King" etc., and receives Holy Communion in the form of bread, saying: The precious and all-holy Body of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is given to me N. priest [or bishop] for the forgiveness of my sins and for life everlasting." Then he says, "Deacon, approach". and gives him Communion with the same form (To thee N. deacon etc.). The celebrant then drinks of the chalice with a corresponding form The precious and all-holy Blood and communicates the deacon as before. After Communion each says silently a very beautiful prayer I believe, Lord, and I confess that Thou art in very truth Christ, the Son of the living God etc. (Brightman, op. cit., 394.) The rest of the clergy are Communicated from the portion marked (IOTA-SIGMA), that has been put into the chalice and is therefore soaked in the consecrated wine, with one form (The precious and all-holy Body and Blood). The celebrant divides the portions marked NI and KA, and the deacon puts them into the chalice with a sponge. The doors are opened and the deacon says, "Draw near in the fear of God and with faith". The celebrant comes down to the doors with the chalice and the spoon and communicates the people with the Holy Bread dipped in the chalice, and with one form, as before. The people stand to receive Communion (the Byzantine Rite knows practically no kneeling at all). Finally, the deacon puts all the remaining particles into the chalice and carries it back to the prothesis. Those other particles (prosphora) originally cut off from the bread have lain on the diskos (paten) since the proskomide. It has been a great question whether they are consecrated or not. The Orthodox now say that they are not, and the deacon puts them into the chalice after the Communion. It is obviously a question of the celebrant's intention. The Uniat priests are told to consecrate them too, and in their Liturgy the people receive in Communion (Fortescue, op. cit., 417; "Echos d'Orient", III, 71-73).
Here begins the Dismissal. The deacon unwinds his orarion, goes back to the choir before the ikonostasis, and says a short litany again with the choir. He then goes to the prothesis and consumes all that is left of the Holy Eucharist with the prosphora. Meanwhile, some of the bread originally cut up at the Prothesis has remained there all the time. This is now brought to the celebrant, blessed by him, and given to the people as a sacramental (the French pain bénit see ANTIDORON). After some more prayers the celebrant and deacon go to the diakonikon, the doors are shut, they take off their vestments, and the Liturgy is over. The whole service is very much longer than our Mass. It lasts about two hours. It should be noted that all the time that the choir are singing or litanies being said the priest is saying other prayers silently (mystikos). The Byzantine Rite has no provision for low Mass. As they say the Liturgy only on Sundays and feast-days, they have less need for such a rite. In cases of necessity, where there is no deacon, the celebrant supplies his part as best he can. The Uniats, who have begun to celebrate every day, have evolved a kind of low Liturgy; and at the Greek College at Rome they have a number of little manuscript books containing an arrangement for celebrating with a priest and one lay server only. But in the Levant, at any rate, the Liturgy is always sung, and incense is always used; so that the minimum of persons required for the Liturgy is a celebrant, server, and one other man who forms the choir.
The Liturgy of the Presanctified is fitted into the general framework of St. Chrysostom's Rite. It is usually celebrated on Wednesdays and Fridays in the first six weeks of Lent, and on all the days of Holy Week, except Maundy Thursday and Easter Eve which have the real Liturgy (of St. Basil). On other days in Lent there is no liturgical service at all. On the Sunday before more loaves (prosphorai) are used than otherwise. The same rite of preparation is made over all. After the Elevation the celebrant dips the other prosphoras into the chalice with the spoon, and places it in another chalice in the tabernacle (artophorion) kept for this purpose. The Liturgy of the Presanctified is said after Vespers (hesperinos), which forms its first part. There is of course no further Proskomide, but the preparatory prayers are said by celebrant and deacon as usual. The Great Litany is introduced into the middle of Vespers. The hymn phos ilaron (see below) is sung as usual, and the lessons are read. The prayers for catechumens and their dismissal follow. The Great Entrance is made with the already consecrated offerings, and a changed form of the Cherubic Hymn is sung (Maltzew, "Die Liturgien", 149). The curtain of the royal doors is half-drawn across, the whole Anaphora is omitted, and they go on at once to the Short Litany before the Lord's Prayer. The Lord's Prayer, Inclination, and Elevation with the form: "The presanctified Holy Things to the holy" follow. Wine and warm water are poured into the chalice, but not, of course, consecrated. Communion is given with one form only. The Blessed Sacrament already dipped in consecrated wine is now dipped in unconsecrated wine. The celebrant drinks of this wine after his Communion without any prayer. The Liturgy ends as usual (with different forms in some parts), and the deacon consumes what is left of the Holy Eucharist (unless some of it is again reserved for the next Presanctified Liturgy and the wine in the Chalice. This is the merest outline of the rite. Its earlier part is inextricably joined to the Vespers (Maltzew, op. cit., 121-158).
The Divine Office is very long and complicated. When sung in choir it lasts about eight hours. It is said entirely only by monks. Secular priests say part of it, as their devotion dictates. The Uniats frequently apply to Rome to know what to do, and the answer is always: Servetur consuetudo, by which is meant that their secular clergy should say as much of the Office as is customary. It is impossible for them to say it all. The Office is divided into the hours named above (under Service-books) which correspond to ours, with additional short hours (mesoora) intermediate between Prime, Terce, Sext, None, and Vespers. It is made up of psalms, lessons, prayers, and especially of a great number of hymns in rhythmical prose. The Psalter is divided into twenty parts called kathismata, each of which is made up of three sections (staseis). The whole Psalter is sung every week. The most important of the many kinds of hymns are the following: A canon (kanon) is made up of nine odes corresponding to the nine canticles (of Moses, Exodus 15:1-19; Deuteronomy 32:1-43; of Anna, 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Habakkuk 3:2-19; Isaiah 26:9-20; Jonah 2:2-10; the Benedicite, Magnificat, and Benedictus) sung at Lauds. Of these canticles the second is sung only in Lent; therefore most canons have no second ode. Each ode is supposed to correspond more or less to its canticle. Thus the sixth ode will generally contain a reference to Jona's whale. Otherwise the canon is always about the feast on which it is sung, and much ingenuity is expended in forcing some connexion between the event of the day and the allusions in the canticles. The odes are further divided into a heirmos and troparia of any number, from three to twenty or more. The heirmos sets the tune for each ode (see PLAIN CHANT), and the troparia follow it. The last troparion of each ode always refers to Our Lady and is called theotokion. The odes often make an acrostic in their initial letters; sometimes they are alphabetic. In long canons a poem is intercalated in the middle during which people may sit (they stand for nearly the whole Office); it is called theotokion. Three troparia form an kathisma ("house", cf. Italian stanza). The canons for the weekdays are in the Oktoechos, those for immovable feasts in the Menaias, for movable ones in the Triodion and Pentekostarion (see above under Service-books). One of the most famous of all is St. John Damascene's Golden Canon for Easter Day (translated by Dr. J. M. Neale in his "Hymns of the Eastern Church", 4th ed., London, pp. 30-44). Other kinds of chant are the kontakion, a short poem about the feast, the stichos a versicle, generally from a psalm (like our antiphons), which introduces a sticheron, or hymn sung at Matins and Vespers. An idiomelon is a troparion that has its own melody, instead of following a heirmos (for other kinds of chant see Nilles, "Kalend. Man.", pp. lvii-lxix, and the example he gives from the feast of the Transfiguration, 6 August). The Great Doxology (doxologia) is our "Gloria in excelsis", the small one our "Gloria Patri". The Hymnos Akathistos ("standing hymn") is a complete Office in honour of Our Lady and of her Annunciation. It has all the Hours and is made up of psalms, odes, etc., like other Offices. It is sung very solemnly on the Saturday before the second Sunday before Easter; and they sing parts of it every Friday evening and Saturday morning in Lent. It is always sung standing. The Hymnos Akathistos is printed at the end of the Horologion. P. de Meester, O.S.B., has edited it with an Italian translation (Akolouthia tou akathistou hymnou. Officio dell' inno acatisto, Rome, 1903). At the end of Vespers every day is sung the famous phos ilaron, as the evening light disappears, and the lamps are lit: --
Hail, gladdening Light, of his pure glory poured
Who is the immortal Father, heavenly, blest,
Holiest of Holies, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Now we are come to the sun's hour of rest,
The lights of evening round us shine,
We hymn the Father, Son and Holy Spirit divine,
Worthiest art Thou at all times to be sung
With undefiled tongue,
Son of our God, giver of life alone.
Therefore in all the world, thy glories, Lord, they own.
-- Keble's translation in the "Hymns, Ancient and Modern", No. 18.
Baptism is always conferred by immersion (the Orthodox have grave doubts as to the validity of baptism by infusion. See Fortescue, Orth. E. Church, p. 420). The child is anointed all over its body and dipped three times with its face towards the east. The form is: "The servant of God N. is baptized in the name of the Father, Amen, and of the Son, Amen, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen."
Confirmation follows at once and is conferred by priests (the Holy See recognizes this confirmation as valid and neither rebaptizes nor reconfirms converts from Orthodoxy). The whole body is again anointed with chrism (to hagion hyron) prepared very elaborately with fifty-five various substances by the cumenical patriarch on Maundy Thursday (Fortescue, op. cit., 425-426). The form is: "The seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Euch., 136-144). The Orthodox never rebaptize when they are sure of the validity of former baptism; but they reconfirm continually. Confirmation has become the usual rite of admittance into their Church, even in the case of apostates who have already been confirmed orthodoxly.
The pious Orthodox layman Communicates as a rule only four times a year, at Christmas, Easter, Whitsunday, and the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God (15 August). The Blessed Sacrament is reserved for the sick in the artophorion, (or ierophylakion) under both kinds more or less, that is to say it has been dipped into the chalice and allowed to dry. It is given to the sick with a spoon and with the usual form (see above under Holy Liturgy). They have no tradition of reverence for the reserved Eucharist.
Penance (metanoia) is administered rarely, usually on the same occasions as Holy Communion. They have no confessionals. The ghostly father (pneumatikos) sits before the ikonostasis under the picture of Our Lord, the penitent kneels before him (one of the rare cases of kneeling is in this rite), and several prayers are said, to which the choir answers "Kyrie eleison". The "choir" is always the penitent himself. Then the ghostly father is directed to say "in a Cheerful voice: Brother, be not ashamed that you come before God and before me, for you do not confess to me but to God who is present here." He asks the penitent his sins, says that only God can forgive him, but that Christ gave this power to his Apostles saying: "Whose sins ye shall forgive", etc., and absolves him with a deprecatory form in a long prayer in which occur the words: "May this same God, through me a sinner, forgive you all now and for ever." (Euch., pp. 221-223.)
Holy Order (cheirotonia) is given by laying on the right hand only. The form is (for deacons): "The grace of God, that always strengthens the weak and fills the empty, appoints the most religious sub-deacon N. to be deacon. Let us then pray for him that the grace of the Holy Ghost may come to him." Long prayers follow, with allusions to St. Stephen and the diaconate; the bishop vests the new deacon, giving him an orarion and a ripidion. For priests and bishops there is the same form, with the obvious variants, "the most religious deacon N. to be priest", or "the most religious elect N. to be Metropolitan of the holy Metropolis N." (nearly all their bishops have the title Metropolitan), and the subjects receive their vestments and instruments. Priests and bishops concelebrate at once with the ordainer (Euch., 160-181). The Orthodox believe that the grace of Holy orders may perish through heresy or schism, so they generally reordain converts (the Russian Church has officially refused to do this, Fortescue, op. cit., 423-424).
Matrimony (gamos) is often called the "crowning" (stephanoma) from the practice of crowning the spouses (Euch., 238-252). They wear these crowns for a week, and have a special service for taking them off again (Euch., 252).
The Anointing of the Sick (euchelaion) is administered (when possible) by seven priests. The oil contains as a rule wine, in memory of the Good Samaritan. It is blessed by a priest just before it is used. They use a very long form invoking the all-holy Theotokos, the "moneyless physicians" Sts. Cosmas and Damian, and other saints. They anoint the forehead, chin, cheeks, hands, nostrils, and breast with a brush. Each priest present does the same (Euch., 260-288). The service is, as usual, very long. They anoint people who are only slightly ill, (they very much resent our name: Extreme Unction), and in Russia on Maundy Thursday the Metropolitans of Moscow and Novgorod anoint everyone who presents himself, as a preparation for Holy Communion (Echos d'Orient, II, 193-203).
There are many Sacramentals. People are sometimes anointed with the oil taken from a lamp that burns before a holy icon (occasionally with the form for confirmation: "The seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost"). They have besides the antidoron another kind of blessed bread the kolyba eaten in honour of some saint or in memory of the dead. On the Epiphany ("The Holy Lights" ta hagia phota) there is a solemn blessing of the waters. They have a great number of exorcisms, very stern laws of fasting (involving abstinence from many things besides flesh meat), and blessings for all manner of things. These are to be found in the Euchologion. Preaching was till lately almost a lost art in the Orthodox Church; now a revival of it has begun (Gelzer, Geistliches u. Weltliches, etc., 76-82). There is a long funeral service (Euch., ed. cit., 393-470). For all these rites (except the Liturgy) a priest does not wear all his vestments but (over his cassock) the epitrachelion and phainolion. The high black hat without a brim (kalemeukion) worn by all priests of this rite is well known. It is worn with vestments as well as in ordinary life. Bishops and dignitaries have a black veil over it. All clerks wear long hair and a beard. For a more detailed account of all these rites see "Orth. Eastern Church", pp. 418-428.
The Orthodox Service-books in Greek are published at their official press (ho phoinix) at Venice (various dates: the Euchologion quoted here, 1898); the Uniat ones at Rome (Propaganda). There is also an Athenian edition; and the Churches that use translations have published their versions. Provost ALEXIOS MALTZEW (of the Russian Embassy church at Berlin) has edited all the books in Old Slavonic with a parallel German translation and notes (Berlin, 1892); RENAUDOT, Liturgiarum orientalium collectio (2d ed., 2 vols., Frankfort, 1847); NEALE, The Liturgies of St. Mark, St. James, St. Clement, St. Chrysostom, St Basil (London, 1875, in Greek); another volume contains The Translations of the Primitive Liturgies of St. Mark, etc.; ROBERTSON, The Divine Liturgies of Our Fathers among the Saints John Chrysostom, Basil the Great and that of the Presanctified (Greek and English, London 1894); DE MEESTER, La divine liturgie de S. Jean Chrysostome (Greek and French, Paris, 1907); iHe theia leitourgia, periechousa ton esperinon, k.t.l. (Athens, 1894); CHARON, Les saintes et divines Liturgies, etc. (Beirut, 1904); STORFF, Die griechiechen Liturgien, XLI of THALHOFER, Bibliothek der Kirchenväter (Kempten, 1877); Kitãb al-liturgiãt al-ilahiyyeh (Melchite Use in Arabic, Beirut, 1899); GOAR, Euchologion, sive Rituale Gr corum (2nd ed., Venice, 1720); PROBST, Liturgie der drei ersten christlichen Jahrhunderte (Tübingen, 1870); ANON., Liturgie des vierten Jahrhunderts und deren Reform (Münster, 1893); KATTENBUSCH, Lehrbuch der vergleichenden Konfessionskunde: Die orthodoxe anatolische Kirche (Freiburg im Br., 1892); NILLES, Kalendarium manuale utriusque ecclesi (2nd ed., Innsbruck, 1896-97); PRINCE MAX OF SAXONY, Pr lectiones de Liturgiis orientalibus (Freiburg im Br., 1908), I; HAPGOOD, Service-Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic (Gr co-Russian) Church (Boston and New York, 1906); ALLATIUS, De libris et rebus eccl. Gr corum (Cologne, 1646); CLUGNET, Dictionnaire grec-français des noms liturgiques en usage dans l'église grecque (Paris, 1895); ARCHATZIKAKI, Etudes sur les principales Fêtes chrétiennes dans l'ancienne Église d'Orient (Geneva, 1904); DE MEESTER, Officio dell' inno acatisto (Greek and Italian, Rome, 1903); GELZER, Geistliches und Weltliches aus dem türkisch-griechischen Orient (Leipzig, 1900); GAISSER, Le système musical de l'Église grecque (Maredsous, 1901); REBOURS, Traitê de psaltique. Théorie et pratique du chant dans l'Église grecque (Paris, 1906); FORTESCUE, The Orthodox Eastern Church (London, 1907).
APA citation. (1908). The Rite of Constantinople. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04312d.htm
MLA citation. "The Rite of Constantinople." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04312d.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.