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Re: [liturgy-l] Review: Camaldolese Office Book - Lauds and Vespers

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  • The Rev'd Doug Morrison-Cleary, OSL
    On Sun, 20 Jan 2008 10:39:36 -0500 (EST) ... In Bob Taft s The Liturgy of the Hours he quotes Cassian from c. 420 in ch 4: ... but, there, while all keep
    Message 1 of 40 , Jan 20, 2008
      On Sun, 20 Jan 2008 10:39:36 -0500 (EST)
      asteresplanetai@... wrote:

      > It says there, 'An early way of using the psalms in Christian worship
      > was by concluding the praying of the psalm with a period of silence
      > and a “psalm prayer”.'
      > Although I like the idea, I have always wondered about this. What
      > evidence is there for such a practice, early in christian worship, of
      > "concluding the praying of the psalm with period of silence"?
      > regards from gray salt lake city,
      > john burnett

      In Bob Taft's The Liturgy of the Hours he quotes Cassian from c. 420 in
      ch 4:

      "... but, there, while all keep silence when the Psalm is finished, the
      prayer that follows is offered up by the singer." Institutes II, 8

      and several similar passages. Such that the whole psalmody looks like:

      "Twelve psalms currente psalterio, as follows:
      Seated: Psalm read tractim by a soloist, standing.
      Standing: Silent prayer with arms extended.
      Prostration: Praying [silently] all the while.
      Standing: Silent prayer with arms extended;
      Collect by the presider."

      from p.60 of the paperback edition (ISBN:0-8146-1405-1), 1986, The
      Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN. Taft quotes other early works
      coming out of the Egyptian monastic tradition that point in the same

      Hope this helps.

    • asteresplanetai@jbburnett.com
      ... hmmm. interesting comparison between the kathisma hymns and the collects, but actually not quite the same, although they do reflect the theme of the day of
      Message 40 of 40 , Feb 7, 2008

        > 2.1. Re: Prayer Offices
        > Posted by: "James Morgan" rdrjames@... rdrjames
        > Date: Wed Feb 6, 2008 7:16 pm ((PST))
        > Just a thought on the use of 'psalm collects' during the recitation of
        > the psalter. In the Eastern tradition we have 'kathisma prayers' which
        > are added at the end of each kathisma or section of the psalter. John
        > burnett will no doubt have more information on this. they are only used
        > in private recitation, not in the offices.
        > And I intend to get the Camaldolese book. it looks to be very
        > interesting.

        hmmm. interesting comparison between the kathisma hymns and the collects,
        but actually not quite the same, although they do reflect the theme of the
        day of the week or of the saint and feast if it's one of those days. Their
        purpose is to provide a bit of music (and an occasion to stand), which
        breaks the monotony of reciting 15 or 20 psalms in a sitting. Or rather,
        three sittings, interrupted by kathisma hymns.

        Here are a couple of examples, from the Paralikitiki (a.k.a Octoechos, or
        Book of the Eight Tones), which is the main book used throughout the year
        for the (eight-)weekly cycle of vespers and matins. They almost always
        have special melodies, but if you don't know the special melody, you use
        the troparion tone:


        From Matins on the Lord's Day, Tone 1:

        After the First Reading from the Psalter, we sing the Resurrectional
        Kathisma Hymns:

        Tone 1

        The soldiers who kept watch over your tomb, O Savior, / fell down as dead
        at the lightning brightness of the angel, / who appeared and proclaimed
        the resurrection to the women. / We glorify you, the Destroyer of
        corruption; / we fall down before you, who are risen from the tomb, / our
        only God.

        V. Arise, O Lord my God, lift up your hand: / do not forget your poor
        until the end.

        Nailed to the cross of your own will, O Merciful One, / and laid in the
        tomb as dead, O Giver of Life, / by your death you have wiped out the
        power of death, / for the gatekeepers of hades trembled before you. / With
        your-self, you have raised up the dead from the ages, / O only Friend of

        Glory; both now. Theotokion.

        All of us who, yearning, seek refuge in your goodness, / know you to be
        the Mother of God, / who after bearing child remained truly Virgin. /
        Indeed, we sinners have in you an intercessor, / and in temptation we have
        you as our salvation, / who alone are without blemish.

        And another set from Monday, Tone 1:

        After the second Reading from the Psalter, other Kathisma Hymns [of

        [To the melody:] The soldiers standing guard.

        In your open arms receive me, O my Father; I have wasted my life like the
        prodigal. But I gaze, O my Savior, on the inexhaustible wealth of your
        great mercy. Despise not my heart, though I have utterly wasted it. O
        Lord, to you I cry, pleading for mercy: Father, I have sinned against
        heaven and before you.

        V. O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger, or chasten me in your wrath.

        Fearsome is your judgment seat, and your judgment is just; but my works
        are very evil. Come, O merciful Lord, before it is too late: save me and
        deliver me from punishment. Redeem me, O Master, from the condemnation of
        the goats, and count me worthy to stand at your right hand, O Judge most

        Glory; both now. Theotokion.

        O pure Virgin, pilot my wretched soul and have pity on me, for I perish,
        sinking into the deep water under a multitude of offenses; and in the
        dread hour of death, set me free from the fearsome sentence of the
        accusing devils.


        However, it is not at all correct to say that the kathisma hymns are used
        only in private recitation and not in public liturgy. There is nothing in
        our books which is intended for private recitation only. What has happened
        is that, in Russian parish usage, the singing of the kathisma hymns (which
        by the way are found only at matins, not after the psalter at vespers) has
        dropped out in most places along with the recitation of the psalms
        themselves; but russians tend to do at least a good-sized chunk of the
        canon (and i believe that some sing the kathisma hymn that's appointed for
        after the 3rd ode of the canon as well). The greeks don't recite the
        psalter and don't sing the canon at all, except for the seasonal
        katavasiai (the concluding verse of each ode), but they do sing the
        kathisma hymns. However, in monasteries, they do everything just as
        appointed in the books.

        The first hymn on monday ("In your open arms") above, by the way, happens
        to be the one that is sung when a novice is brought forth to be tonsured
        as a monk. The Znamenny melody i'm familiar with is quite beautiful.

        i'm sure all of this is quite opaque to our western friends.

        regards from snowy salt lake city,

        john burnett.
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