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[ustav] Singing Psalm 118 at Vigil

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  • Carles, Trevor
    The practice in ROCOR parishes in Australia - & elsewhere, judging by the Jordanville Calender typicon - is to sing the polyeleos at Matins even when Psalm 118
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 31, 1999
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      The practice in ROCOR parishes in Australia - & elsewhere, judging by
      the Jordanville Calender typicon - is to sing the polyeleos at Matins
      even when Psalm 118 is actually appointed. If we were to sing Psalm
      118, however, what would that mean in terms of liturgical actions? Are
      the Royal Doors opened & the lights turned on etc. as in a polyeleos
      service? A related point: how & when did Psalm 118 fall out of common
      usage? Some here have explained it as a result of the link in the minds
      of the people between Psalm 118 & services for the departed - Psalm 118
      came to seem improper at services other than these.

      Deacon James Carles
      Sydney/Australia

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    • Carles, Trevor
      Could no-one help with this? Deacon James ... eGroup home: http://www.eGroups.com/list/ustav Free Web-based e-mail groups by eGroups.com
      Message 2 of 10 , Feb 4, 1999
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        Could no-one help with this? Deacon James

        >-----Original Message-----
        >From: Carles, Trevor
        >Sent: Monday, 1 February 1999 16:46
        >To: 'ustav@egroups.com'
        >Subject: Singing Psalm 118 at Vigil
        >Importance: High
        >
        >The practice in ROCOR parishes in Australia - & elsewhere, judging by the
        >Jordanville Calender typicon - is to sing the polyeleos at Matins even when
        >Psalm 118 is actually appointed. If we were to sing Psalm 118, however, what
        >would that mean in terms of liturgical actions? Are the Royal Doors opened &
        >the lights turned on etc. as in a polyeleos service? A related point: how &
        >when did Psalm 118 fall out of common usage? Some here have explained it as
        >a result of the link in the minds of the people between Psalm 118 & services
        >for the departed - Psalm 118 came to seem improper at services other than
        >these.
        >
        >Deacon James Carles
        >Sydney/Australia

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      • Malcolm Jenner
        ... what ... opened & ... My understanding, based on reading rubrics in various service books, is that when Psalm 118 is used it is read rather than sung (i.e.
        Message 3 of 10 , Feb 5, 1999
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          At 13:30 05/02/99 +1100, you wrote:
          >Could no-one help with this? Deacon James
          >
          >>-----Original Message-----
          >>From: Carles, Trevor
          >>Sent: Monday, 1 February 1999 16:46
          >>To: 'ustav@egroups.com'
          >>Subject: Singing Psalm 118 at Vigil
          >>Importance: High
          >>
          >>The practice in ROCOR parishes in Australia - & elsewhere, judging by the
          >>Jordanville Calender typicon - is to sing the polyeleos at Matins even when
          >>Psalm 118 is actually appointed. If we were to sing Psalm 118, however,
          what
          >>would that mean in terms of liturgical actions? Are the Royal Doors
          opened &
          >>the lights turned on etc. as in a polyeleos service? A related point: how &
          >>when did Psalm 118 fall out of common usage? Some here have explained it as
          >>a result of the link in the minds of the people between Psalm 118 & services
          >>for the departed - Psalm 118 came to seem improper at services other than
          >>these.
          >>
          >>Deacon James Carles
          >>Sydney/Australia
          >
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          >

          My understanding, based on reading rubrics in various service books, is
          that when Psalm 118 is used it is read rather than sung (i.e. chanted on a
          note, not sung to a tune). When the Evlogitaria begin (which are an
          extension to this Psalm) the Holy Doors are opened and the Priest (in
          Phelon) and Deacon (with Candle) cense the entire church.

          When Polyeleos is used the censing should normally FOLLOW it, i.e. on
          Sundays be done during the Evlogitaria and on Feast Days during the
          Megalynarion (with all its Psalm verses).


          Archimandrite Kyril Jenner.

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        • David James
          Although our parish is young (founded 1989), we have always sung Ps. 118 when it is appointed. I guess we didn t know any better ;-). We use a simple chant
          Message 4 of 10 , Feb 5, 1999
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            Although our parish is young (founded 1989), we have always sung Ps. 118
            when it is appointed. I guess we didn't know any better ;-). We use a simple
            chant that is printed in the English music for the 8 tones published by St.
            John of Kronstadt Press. I understand that this chant melody for Ps. 118 is
            one used in the Old Rite. This particular version was recorded by Bishop
            Daniel of Erie and passed on by him to Dr. Timothy Clader, the arranger of
            the English music.

            David James
            St. Xenia of Petersburg Church
            Methuen, MA

            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Malcolm Jenner [SMTP:cm1984@...]
            > Sent: Friday, February 05, 1999 7:21 AM
            > To: ustav@egroups.com
            > Subject: [ustav] Re: Singing Psalm 118 at Vigil
            >
            > At 13:30 05/02/99 +1100, you wrote:
            > >Could no-one help with this? Deacon James
            > >
            > >>-----Original Message-----
            > >>From: Carles, Trevor
            > >>Sent: Monday, 1 February 1999 16:46
            > >>To: 'ustav@egroups.com'
            > >>Subject: Singing Psalm 118 at Vigil
            > >>Importance: High
            > >>
            > >>The practice in ROCOR parishes in Australia - & elsewhere, judging by
            > the
            > >>Jordanville Calender typicon - is to sing the polyeleos at Matins even
            > when
            > >>Psalm 118 is actually appointed. If we were to sing Psalm 118, however,
            > what
            > >>would that mean in terms of liturgical actions? Are the Royal Doors
            > opened &
            > >>the lights turned on etc. as in a polyeleos service? A related point:
            > how &
            > >>when did Psalm 118 fall out of common usage? Some here have explained
            > it as
            > >>a result of the link in the minds of the people between Psalm 118 &
            > services
            > >>for the departed - Psalm 118 came to seem improper at services other
            > than
            > >>these.
            > >>
            > >>Deacon James Carles
            > >>Sydney/Australia
            > >
            > >------------------------------------------------------------------------
            > >Fresh flowers are the perfect way to say "I love you".
            > >Shipped direct from the grower, Proflowers.com has
            > >arrangements from $29.95 plus S&H.
            > >Click here: http://offers.egroups.com/click/216/0
            > >
            > >eGroup home: http://www.eGroups.com/list/ustav
            > >Free Web-based e-mail groups by eGroups.com
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
            > My understanding, based on reading rubrics in various service books, is
            > that when Psalm 118 is used it is read rather than sung (i.e. chanted on a
            > note, not sung to a tune). When the Evlogitaria begin (which are an
            > extension to this Psalm) the Holy Doors are opened and the Priest (in
            > Phelon) and Deacon (with Candle) cense the entire church.
            >
            > When Polyeleos is used the censing should normally FOLLOW it, i.e. on
            > Sundays be done during the Evlogitaria and on Feast Days during the
            > Megalynarion (with all its Psalm verses).
            >
            >
            > Archimandrite Kyril Jenner.
            >
            > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
            > Fresh flowers are the perfect way to say "I love you".
            > Shipped direct from the grower, Proflowers.com has
            > arrangements from $29.95 plus S&H.
            > Click here: http://offers.egroups.com/click/216/0
            >
            > eGroup home: http://www.eGroups.com/list/ustav
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            >

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          • Father Maximos
            ... We do Psalm 118 when it is called for and my understanding is it is treated as the other Kathismata, so the doors remain shut etc. In Monastic practice
            Message 5 of 10 , Feb 5, 1999
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              >>The practice in ROCOR parishes in Australia - & elsewhere, judging by the
              >>Jordanville Calender typicon - is to sing the polyeleos at Matins even when
              >>Psalm 118 is actually appointed. If we were to sing Psalm 118, however, what
              >>would that mean in terms of liturgical actions? Are the Royal Doors opened &
              >>the lights turned on etc. as in a polyeleos service? A related point: how &
              >>when did Psalm 118 fall out of common usage? Some here have explained it as
              >>a result of the link in the minds of the people between Psalm 118 & services
              >>for the departed - Psalm 118 came to seem improper at services other than
              >>these.
              >>


              We do Psalm 118 when it is called for and my understanding is it is treated
              as the other Kathismata, so the doors remain shut etc. In Monastic practice
              Psalm 118 is done virtually everyday at Midnight Office ( except on
              Saturday when it is done at Matins). So it really is a daily psalm and
              should not be overly associated with services for the departed. Though
              certainly the Polyeleos has a more festal character.

              Hierodeacon Maximos
              Ascension Monastery
              Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
              706/277/9442



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            • sev@erols.com
              Dearest friends in Christ, At St. Sergius Theological Academy in Paris the Ps 118 was sung in the 5th tone, as required by the Typicon. Depending on the local
              Message 6 of 10 , Feb 5, 1999
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                Dearest friends in Christ,
                At St. Sergius Theological Academy in Paris the Ps 118 was sung in the 5th
                tone, as required by the Typicon. Depending on the local tradition, the
                censing should be done either during the singin of this Psalm, or during the
                "Blagosloven esi Gospodi". Thsi also depends on where the priest reads
                the Holy Gospel. I have seen that in the US, in some churches it is read
                in the center of the church, in others, it is read on the Altar Table, and still
                in others the priest reads it out of the Holy Gates, facing West. In our
                Russian tradition, it is more common to read the Gospel in the Altar, on the
                Altar table, except if it is a great feast, then its read in the middle of the church.
                Unfortunately not many churches sing the PS 118 instead of the Polyeleos,
                but it should be noted that this Ps has to do with the departed, because it relates to
                life after death, to the Resurrection. In fact it is sung, according to the
                Typicon, around the summer period, which occurs near Pascha. Notice also that
                it is sung around the Feasts of the Nativity and Theophany, which are the "winter
                Pascha". Therefore, it is actually, in its textual context, a more Paschal
                liturgical element than the Polyeleos, which in turn is a feast element. I
                would tend to think that it should be sung as if replacing the Polyeleos,
                and according to the Typicon, in the 5th tone, tropar-stichirny tone, not irmosny.
                In Christ,
                deacon Vsevolod

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              • ilector
                His Grace, Bishop Daniel (for whom I ask everyone to pray, since he is still experiencing drastic health problems since his recent stroke) related to me the
                Message 7 of 10 , Feb 5, 1999
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                  His Grace, Bishop Daniel (for whom I ask everyone to pray, since he is
                  still experiencing drastic health problems since his recent stroke)
                  related to me the circumstances of Holy Trinity Monastery's resumption
                  of the chanting of Ps. 118. Some of you may find it interesting.

                  It seems that whoever was in charge of kleros in those days (possibly
                  the late Archimandrite Joseph) asked Vladyka Daniel's mother, who was
                  from Old Ritualist stock, to sing the melody for Ps. 118 which she knew
                  from childhood. This she willingly did. Some time later, when she and
                  her son attended Saturday night vigil together at the monastery, she
                  noticed that the choirs were chanting the psalm in question. "What is
                  that they're singing?" she asked her son. "They've harmonized the
                  znamenny melody for Ps. 118," he replied. "It's own mother wouldn't
                  recognize it!" was her response.

                  Vladyka Daniel related this anecdote to me in a conversation centered
                  upon his firm disapproval of the harmonization of monodic chant
                  melodies.

                  Isaac Lambertsen


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                • Trfcc@aol.com
                  Would the monodic Znammeny Chant version of Psalm 118 (or at least a lead sheet of the melody) be available in western notation and if so, how can it be
                  Message 8 of 10 , Feb 6, 1999
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                    Would the monodic Znammeny Chant version of Psalm 118 (or at least a lead
                    sheet of the melody) be available in western notation and if so, how can it be
                    obtained? Is it just Znammeny stich tone 5 (like that's easy anyway)? We
                    won't harmonize it. I promise.
                    Hierom Christopher
                    NYC

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                  • FrJohnM@aol.com
                    In the Byzantine tradition, Psalm 118 is sung in the exact same tone (tone 5, troparion setting) as the Evlogetaria. In fact, the one leads into the other
                    Message 9 of 10 , Feb 6, 1999
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                      In the Byzantine tradition, Psalm 118 is sung in the exact same tone (tone 5,
                      troparion setting) as the Evlogetaria. In fact, the one leads into the other
                      with the common refrain to both: "Blessed art Thou, O God, teach me Thy
                      statues." In this way, the funeral refrains of Psalm 118 lead us to the
                      Resurrectional refrains of the Evlogetaria. It is truly a shame that it is no
                      longer done. Interestingly, even the "shortened for parish usage" Antiochian
                      Red Service Book still appoints the singing of the "Amomos" (from Psalm 118:1,
                      "blessed are the blameless...") as an integral part of parish Orthos (Matins).

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                    • Fr. Simon
                      ... I am responding to your post re Psalm 118, because it seems that some answer has been sought regarding how this Psalm is sung in the Old Rite. In the first
                      Message 10 of 10 , Feb 9, 1999
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                        ilector wrote:
                        >
                        > His Grace, Bishop Daniel (for whom I ask everyone to pray, since he is
                        > still experiencing drastic health problems since his recent stroke)
                        > related to me the circumstances of Holy Trinity Monastery's resumption
                        > of the chanting of Ps. 118. Some of you may find it interesting.
                        >
                        > It seems that whoever was in charge of kleros in those days (possibly
                        > the late Archimandrite Joseph) asked Vladyka Daniel's mother, who was
                        > from Old Ritualist stock, to sing the melody for Ps. 118 which she knew
                        > from childhood. This she willingly did. Some time later, when she and
                        > her son attended Saturday night vigil together at the monastery, she
                        > noticed that the choirs were chanting the psalm in question. "What is
                        > that they're singing?" she asked her son. "They've harmonized the
                        > znamenny melody for Ps. 118," he replied. "It's own mother wouldn't
                        > recognize it!" was her response.
                        >
                        > Vladyka Daniel related this anecdote to me in a conversation centered
                        > upon his firm disapproval of the harmonization of monodic chant
                        > melodies.
                        >
                        > Isaac Lambertsen
                        >
                        > Dear Isaac,

                        I am responding to your post re Psalm 118, because it seems that some
                        answer has been sought regarding how this Psalm is sung in the Old Rite.
                        In the first place, let me say that there has been a tradtion of singing
                        selected verses for the appointed Kathismi at any Matins that is of
                        festal rank rather than merely daily Matins. Thus, if we serve Matins on
                        the weekdays of Great Lent, or on any other day not of polyeleos rank,
                        we will read the entire Kathisma. If we are serving Sunday Matins or a
                        feast day with a polyeleos and Magnification, instead of reading the
                        entire kathisma, we sing selected verses (these selected verses are set
                        forth in the "Obihod" which date back prior to the "Schism") and the
                        reader announces the first verse(sung as a solo by a member of the
                        choir) and the second verse which is then sung by the right or left
                        choir (depending on which choir has the turn to start - we always use
                        two choirs and sing almost everything antiphonally). Perhaps the reader
                        could/ should read the entire kathisma aloud between the selected
                        verses, but during my entire lifetime, we have simply sung the selected
                        verses (about 10-15 on each stasis) while the reader reads all the rest
                        of the stasis quietly (when I have been in other Old Believer parishes
                        where the verses were also sung, this practise was the same as ours -
                        and knowing how meticulous Old Believers are about not introducing
                        innovations into the services, this suggests that this has probably been
                        a long standing practice).

                        Now to Psalm 118 (17th Kathisma). Except on great feasts of our Lord,
                        this kathisma is always to be read/sung after the 2nd and 3rd kathismi
                        at Sunday Matins. It is sung in the same manner as the other kathismi.
                        When there is no appointed polyeleos, the church is censed during this
                        kathisma which is immediately followed by the Resurrectional tropari.
                        The doors are opened during this time. Immediately following these
                        tropari and the Hypakoi, we close the doors while the appointed homily
                        reading is done. After the reading, we sing the "Stepenna" (Antiphons).
                        If there is a polyeleos, we do not cense until the polyeleos which is
                        sung after the reading. Even if there is a polyeleos, the 17th kathisma
                        is still sung (or read).

                        I remember looking at Bulgakov's handbook once, and I was surprised to
                        see the same basic "Ustav" indicated for the "New Rite". As a matter of
                        fact, usually when I check different sources of Ustav for the "New
                        Rite", I find that there is very little difference between these two
                        variations of the same rite (that's classic Vl. Daniel language who
                        always explains that we are not talking about different rites, but
                        variations of the same rite). My point here is that I believe it is
                        likely that the intention of the "New Rite" is also that the 17th
                        kathisma is to be read/sung. If it's not, that's not for an Old
                        Ritualist like me to speculate.

                        We still sing a number of portions of the services in Slavonic, although
                        the overwelming majority of the services are in English. We are just now
                        in the process of working out the 17th Kathisma into English according
                        to the Znamenny chant. Although all of our "raspev" is sung using the
                        "kryuki" (English as well as Slavonic), I'm sure we can put this into
                        staff notation if someone is interested.
                        Finally, Isaac, I woud desribe Vl. Daniel as now experiencing minor
                        residual effects from his stroke of last summer. His mind and speech are
                        clear, but he still suffers from dizziness when he stands. This makes
                        walking (and also serving) difficult. In all other ways, he has made a
                        very satisfactory recovery from his stroke.
                        I wish you (and all other subscribers reading this ) a spiritually
                        profitable fast and I ask for forgiveness if I have offended you (all
                        who subscribe) during the past year.

                        In Christ,
                        Fr. Pimen Simon
                        Old Rite Church of the Nativity of Christ,
                        Erie, Pa.


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