Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ordinary time resumes

For the first time since late January, the church hours, particularly Orthros and Vespers have returned to exclusive use of Octoechos, the book of 8 tones.  No longer do priests, chanters and the congregations derive part or all of their hymnography from the Triodion or the Pentecostarion.  For 5 months, the church has been thoroughly invested in Lent, the Passion, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension of our Lord, Jesus Christ and the sending of the Paraclete and the commemoration of all saints.  Now, we go back to the humdrum of "ordinary time."

I have said before that there is nothing ordinary about ordinary time.  This is a great time to develop our relationships with Christ but also His saints as God is glorified in them.  The services are, in general, shorter.  For instance, this morning was a 4th class feast on a Sunday which means there was no special hymns save for the Apolytikion of the Martyrs.   Not only were my fellow chanter and I able to chant the entire service without skipping anything, but we were allowed to chant each of the Kathismata hymns according to the melody Τον Ταφον, Σωτηρ, read the Kontakion and Oikos of the Resurrection and the Synaxarion of the saints of the day, but chant the entirety of the αινοι (Praises) which includes all of Psalms 148, 149 and 150.  I can't remember the last time we were able to do it.  In short, it was glorious.

What came across as a very ordinary day was a day of enhanced prayer using the church's sources of the psalter and Octoechos.  No great feast day is in our midst (save for that of Sts. Peter and Paul in two weeks time) and no huge saint is on the calendar, but this is the great time to get back to basics, to really strengthen the framework of prayer, both at church and at home so that we are prepared for the great feasts to come.

So, enjoy ordinary time and get to know the saints.  They pray ceaselessly for us and know us; we should also know them as God is glorified in them.

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