A few days ago, I came up with the idea of writing a blog about the liturgical typikon, and more specifically the structure and details of the Eastern Orthodox liturgical cycle and church services (even though it’s in the Typikon, I don’t have immediate plans to write about, say, when monastics cover their heads in church).
The Typikon, you say, isn’t that boring, and full of arcane rules? Not really! There are a lot of detailed rules, which are not always followed faithfully. But when these rules are followed, and when we become familiar with the order of services and the cycle of the liturgical year, we learn important things about the feasts, theology, and way the Church has ordered for us to live. If you become truly familiar with, and observe, the cycle of services throughout the year, you will learn the teaching of the Church, not theoretically or intellectually, but as part of life. “Lex orandi lex credendi” (“What we pray is what we believe”) is a common saying in Orthodox circles. This is absolutely true; the theology of the church is contained in our services, which are our amazing inheritance and treasure.
Many people will say that it is too complicated, or perhaps would make the services too long, to observe the Typikon. I don’t particularly wish to debate either of those points, but I plan to write about the services as served (with fairly minor abbreviations) in many parishes in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). ROCOR has a rich liturgical tradition, and this is my experience.
I plan to write about:
- Interesting hymns and connections in the services
- Rubrical issues and why they are important
- Basic explanations of service structure (especially if there’s specific interest)
I personally love church services, and find details fascinating. Not everyone wants to know obscure details, and certainly not everyone needs to (though perhaps I’ll meet some more who do!), but everyone can benefit from the many beautiful things contained in the services, and I hope to share some of those things through this blog. Almost every week I notice something of interest, and so I decided to write some of these things down. I might occasionally post things with an “Obscurity ahead” warning, but I hope that most of my posts will be relevant for everyone.
I am on the Old Calendar, which means that most of what I naturally notice or think about corresponds with Old Calendar timing, but I will make an effort to note some things ahead of time for New Calendar readers.
First up: Theophany – Why Was It Weird This Year? Plus, Interesting Facts and Background