Friday, July 27, 2012

Propers & Hymns - Ninth Sunday After Pentecost

Propers, hymns and hymn selection (order of worship) for the Ninth Sunday After Pentecost (Sunday, July 29, 2012) are available on the For the Faithful resource page.

Epistle - 1st Corinthians 3:9-17
Gospel - Matthew 14:22-34

Tone of the week = Tone 8

We welcome home our own Fr. Jack, after a hopefully peaceful vacation week!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dormition of Holy Anna, Mother of the Mother of God

Today we commemorate the Dormition of the Righteous and Holy Anna, the mother of the Mother of God. Known principally through tradition, we understand that Anna was the daughter of the priest, Matthan, and his wife, Mary and was of the tribe of Levi and lineage of Aaron. She married Joachim, a shepherd given the task of supplying the temple of Jerusalem with sheep for sacrifices. After twenty years of marriage Ann and Joachim had no children. Once, when Joachim overheard ridicule because of their childless state, he is said to have gone into the desert to plead with God to give them a child. After a time of fasting an angel appeared to assure Joachim that he and Anna would be given a child, to be named Mary and dedicated to God. Anna died peacefully in her sleep before the Annunciation to her daughter, Mary, the Mother of God.
Troparion of Holy Anna (Tone 4)
O holy Anna, you are filled with the wisdom of God, and you gave birth to the most pure Mother, the one who gave birth to Life.  Therefore, you have been carried up in glory on this day to the blessedness of heaven, to the abode of those who exult with joy.  And now you pray, O ever-blessed one, for the forgiveness of sins for all those who honor you with all their heart.
 Anna is the patroness for conceiving children and for help in difficult childbirth. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

An "ordinary" Sunday ...

Tomorrow is the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost ... and nothing else!

What does that tell us as to what we can expect to chant at tomorrow's Divine Liturgy?

Well, as noted in prior posts, we are now in that long stretch between Pentecost and Great Lent, where we mark time based on the number of Sundays elapsed since Pentecost - the Sundays after Pentecost. This time period roughly corresponds to a segment of what our Latin Catholic "cousins" would refer to as "Ordinary Time", the sequential weeks of the civil calendar "interrupted" by the major liturgical seasons - Lent, Easter and Advent. We do not break the our count of Sundays after Pentecost for Advent (or the preparatory period of Phillip's Fast in our tradition).

There is no feast day being celebrated, nor are there any other commemorations (unlike last week).

Hence, one might call it a very "ordinary" Sunday for us!

By tradition, on such Sundays, we most often select a para-liturgical Marian Hymn to sing before the Divine Liturgy, during the Great Incensation (incensing of the church and people), honoring the Mother of God.

We chant the Divine Liturgy as in the People's Book, with nothing supplementally added.

We select available variations of the liturgical hymns in the People's Book (e.g. the Thrice-Holy Hymn; the Cherubim Hymn; etc.) largely according to preference. These selections are announced and published in advance via our postings of propers, hymns and hymn selection (order of worship) for Sundays and Feast Days.

Given that Tone 7 is the tone of the week, we take the propers for Sunday of that tone (the Troparion, Kontakion, Prokeimenon and Alleluia for the Divine Liturgy) as given in the Octoechos and provided on pages 154 - 158 of the People's Book (beginning on page 156 - At the Divine Liturgy).

We also by parish custom chant the Lord's Prayer as set to the Samohlasen (or "common" tone) melodies according to the tone of the week. So, this week we will chant the Lord's Prayer on page 72 of the People's Book (in Samohlasen Tone 7).
NOTE: Postings of applicable liturgical propers (including the Lord's Prayer) will of course continue to be made on the boards in the nave of the church, but we hope this recap and our advance postings will further assist you in anticipating the "flow" of the Divine Liturgy, navigating the People's Book more effectively and chanting more comfortably and actively.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Propers & Hymns - Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

Propers, hymns and hymn selection (order of worship) for the Eighth Sunday After Pentecost (Sunday, July 22, 2012) are available on the For the Faithful resource page.

Epistle - 1st Corinthians 1:10-18
Gospel - Matthew 14:14-22

Tone of the week = Tone 7

We once again welcome Msgr. Tom Molloy to the Church of the Resurrection, as our guest celebrant. Our thanks! May God grant his priestly servant, Msgr. Tom, many happy, healthy and blessed years!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Feast of the Holy and Glorious Prophet Elijah (St. Elias)

Please join us for the Divine Liturgy on Friday evening, July 20, 2012 at 7PM, to be followed by the blessing of cars and vehicles
Troparion of the Holy Prophet (Tone 4)
An angel in the flesh, the foundation of the prophets, and the second forerunner of Christ, the glorious Elijah from on high sent grace to Elisha, to cure sickness and cleanse lepers. He likewise overflows with healing for those who honor him.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's a para-liturgical hymn?

To those with a fondness for science fiction genre, it probably reminds one of "paranormal".

Indeed, para is a prefix meaning "beside" or "beyond". In this context, it also connotes "outside".

Thus, a para-liturgical hymn is one sung or chanted outside the Divine Liturgy. Many of what we consider to be our most treasured, traditional hymns (Marian, Lenten, Christmas, Pascal, etc., including many found in the Byzantine Catholic Hymnal) are indeed para-liturgical hymns and, as such, would not be used as part of the Divine Liturgy celebration, but either beforehand or afterward. Particularly in the case of Marian hymns, some are famously chanted on pilgrimages.

Liturgical hymns are thus those that are proper to, and used in the Divine Liturgy (e.g. the Thrice Holy Hymn; the Cherubim Hymn; etc.). Unlike para-liturgical hymns, they must have very firm foundation in Scripture. Many such hymns either take lyrics directly from the Psalms, or are based on passages and have been vetted for strict conformity with Holy Scripture.

In our advance postings of propers, hymns and hymn selection (order of worship), everything that is outlined for use during that particular celebration of the Divine Liturgy constitutes a liturgical hymn, except for the Opening Hymn, which is often (but not always) para-liturgical in nature.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Feast of Blessed Paul P. Gojdich, Martyr & Confessor

Today we remember Blessed Paul P. Gojdich, Martyr and Confessor, who was Bishop of the Eparchy of Prešov during the Communist era.

The Seminary of the Eparchy of Prešov is presently named in his honor and memory.

Born in 1888 in Ruske Perklany in Prjashevschina to a priestly family. Though his family wanted him to go into medicine or law, he felt called to the priesthood and entered the Prešov seminary in 1907. He chose the celibate priesthood and was ordained in 1911. In 1922, he entered the Basilian monastery of St. Nicholas at Chernecha Hora. He was renowned for his long hours of prayer and for his work with the youth of the Church. In 1926, he was appointed as Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of Prešov, and was ordained bishop in 1927. Through independence, war, and near famine conditions, he was a good shepherd to his people. In 1949, the Communist government of Czechoslovakia began its liquidation of the Byzantine Catholic Church, and Bishop Gojdich worked through every means at his disposal to keep his priests and people loyal to their Byzantine Catholic Church and to Rome. He was arrested in 1950, tried in a mock trial in 1951. The secret police made every effort to break Bishop Gojdich and have him recant the Union of Uzhgorod, but he remained faithful. However, his health was completely broken by the maltreatment he received, and he died in the penitentiary of Leopoldov, Slovakia (1960).
[sourceByzantine Monthly Menaion - Volume 11 (July), Metropolitan Cantor Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, 2005]

A longer biography of Blessed Paul P. Gojdich, reprinted from the Byzantine Leaflet series, is available on the internet (click here).

Troparion of Blessed Paul Gojdich (Tone 4)

From your youth you loved Christ, the eternal Word. You desired to serve him quietly and in simplicity of heart, but the right hand of the Most High chose you for the bishop's throne, and made you a steadfast shepherd of his people. For the sake of faith and the unity of the Church, you offered yourself to God as a perfect sacrifice. O Father and priest-martyr Paul, pray to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Eternal memory! Vičnaja pamjat, Vladyko!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Propers & Hymns - Feast of the Holy and Glorious Prophet Elijah (St. Elias)

Propers, hymns and hymn selection (order of worship) for the Feast of the Holy and Glorious Prophet Elijah (a/k/a St. Elias) are available on the For the Faithful resource page.

The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 7:00PM on the feast day, Friday, July 20, 2012.

Please join us for this joyous feast and the traditional blessing of cars and other modes of transportation!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Byzantine-Ruthenian Divine Liturgy via Webcast

For those who may wish to experience the Divine Liturgy in sister churches of the Byzantine Catholic Metropolia, the opportunity now exists via webcast / streaming video on (internet host site).

First, Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church in McKees Rock, PA is streaming video from their church, and also have posted a few archived services, including a Divine Liturgy in Church Slavonic celebrated by Metropolitan Archbishop Jan Babjak from the Archeparchy of Prešov, Slovakia and Bishop John Pazak of the Slovak Eparchy of Sts. Cyril & Methodius of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Click here for this parish's live streaming video channel, as well as the archived videos.

In addition, the Cathedral of our Metropolitan Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Munhall, PA, is also streaming video via the same internet host. Click here for the Cathedral's live streaming video channel, as well as the archived videos.

The entire Enthronement Ceremony of our new Metropolitan Archbishop William C. Skurla, and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy celebrated on April 18, 2012, has been archived by the Cathedral church, and is available for replay (click here). I would encourage everyone, especially our chanters and choir members, to enjoy this video.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church via YouTube

Please take note - we have links (located at the bottom of the home page) to two different YouTube channels on our blog, featuring our chant and liturgical tradition.

First, we have linked to LogosTvUzhgorod, the featured channel of the Eparchy of Mukachevo which has been very active in creating videos archiving the very vibrant life of our Mother Church. There is always of fresh supply of new and interesting videos, including most recently the blessing of an iconostasis and altar of a new church. Ever so often in these videos, one can hear some beautiful hymns that may have fallen out of common use here in America, providing a source of inspiration for us avid chanters here! It is so very nice to see this Eparchy coming fully alive again in our Church's ancestral lands. May God grant Bishop Milan and all the faithful many happy, healthy and blessed years!

In addition, we have also linked to the Prostopinije channel which features several chant and choral treasures of our tradition, including some very traditional choral works and arrangements performed by the Westminster Slavic Choir of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Trenton, NJ.

We will look to add other links as well, so stay tuned!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Byzantine Cycles of Worship - Cycle of the Eight Tones

In the Byzantine liturgical system, characterized by various cycles, each week (except for Great and Holy Week) is assigned to one of the eight tones, or Octoechos. The liturgical week begins with Sunday - more specifically, with the service of Vespers on Saturday evening. So each Saturday at Vespers, we begin chanting the proper hymns for each service in a new tone, in order, for a whole week. The tone applicable for any given week is thus often referred to as "the tone of the week".

The tone of the week can be quickly determined by reference to our church calendar (listed in bold text in the upper right hand corner of each Sunday date). We are also publishing the propers for Sunday and feasts days on the For the Faithful resource page. Below is some further, detailed discussion on how the cycle of the eight tones is applied in our liturgical worship.

Each particular Church which uses the Byzantine Rite has developed its own system of liturgical chant, much of which is related to chanting of hymns in the eight tones. While the tone assigned to a given proper liturgical hymn (e.g. troparion or kontakion) for a Sunday or feast day is usually the same in different churches of the Byzantine tradition (e.g. Ukrainian; Melkite; etc.), the actual melody used may be quite different. Those who have visited other Eastern Christian churches following the Byzantine Rite will have noted great similarity in the structure and text of the Divine Liturgy, yet recognize that it is set to the distinctive chant of that particular Church's own tradition.

In our own [Ruthenian] Byzantine Catholic Church, the most common form of chant is the Carpathian Plainchant known as Prostopinije, which provides melodies in each of the eight tones for use in the Divine Liturgy for liturgical propers: the troparionkontakionprokeimenon and alleluia. Melodies are also provided for proper hymns used in other services (e.g. stichera) or on certain feasts (e.g. irmosy).

The assignment of tones to specific weeks begins on Pascha, the greatest feast of the liturgical year. The cycle of the eight tones comes to an end with the conclusion of the Great Fast. For the Great and Holy Week of the Lord's suffering and Resurrection (from Lazarus Saturday to Great and Holy Saturday), the hymns of the Octoechos are completely replaced with those specific to Great and Holy Week. Only on Pascha do we begin again - with the Sunday hymns in Tone 1.

Bright Week, the week following Pascha, is the most joyous of the year. To emphasize the universal nature of the Resurrection, we sing through the Sunday proper hymns (which commemorate the Resurrection) in all eight tones, one tone per day. Thus, for Bright Monday, we sing the Sunday hymns in Tone 2; on Bright Tuesday, the Sunday hymns in Tone 3; and so on, ending with Tone 8 on Saturday. Tone 7, traditionally considered the most somber of the tones, is omitted in order to fit the eight tones into seven days.

On the Sunday after Pascha (Thomas Sunday), we come back to Tone 1, beginning with Vespers on Saturday evening. For the rest of the liturgical year, the tones follow one another in regular procession, repeating after the cycle of the eight tones is complete.

The Sunday after Pentecost is the Sunday of All Saints (Tone 8). With the second Sunday after Pentecost, we come back to Tone 1, and continue in an uninterrupted cycle of the eight tones until the next Great and Holy Week. It is in this period, the Sundays after Pentecost (up until the Lenten Triodion is used - see below), that the cycle of the eight tones becomes most discernible, as there are fewer feasts and other special commemorations for which proper hymns are added (often times in tones different than the tone of the week, which sometimes causes confusion).

Around the 32nd week after Pentecost, we begin preparing for the coming celebration of Pascha, and follow the Lenten Triodion. For the preliminary Sundays of the Triodion, and the Sundays and weekdays of the Great Fast, we combine the hymns of the Triodion with those of the eight tones (as is also done for various feast days and commemorations throughout the liturgical year). Irrespective, each week keeps the tone it would have based on the number of weeks since the previous Pentecost.

[adapted from: The Eight Tones, Metropolitan Cantor Institute, Pittsburgh, PA (] 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our Liturgical Glossary: "Octoechos"

Octoechos –  name of the eight mode system used for the composition of religious chant in Byzantine, Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Latin and Slavic churches since the Middle Ages. In a modified form the octoechos is still regarded as the fundament of the living tradition of monodic Orthodox chant today.
[adapted from Octoechos - Wikipedia (]

Octoikhos (alternate spelling) – liturgical book which contains services from All Saint's Sunday to the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee in eight tones; hence its name "Octo" which means eight. Since each tone is used for one week only, the Octoikhos covers but eight weeks. Consequently after each eight weeks the cycle of Octoikhos is repeated.
[Greek Catholic Dictionary, Rev. Basil Shereghy, S.T.D. and Rev. Vladimir Vancik, S.T.D., Pittsburgh Byzantine Diocesan Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1951, pg. 51]

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Propers & Hymns - Seventh Sunday After Pentecost - July 15, 2012

Propers, hymns and hymn selection (order of worship) for the Seventh Sunday After Pentecost (Sunday, July 15, 2012) are available on the For the Faithful resource page.

Note that this Sunday we also commemorate the Fathers at the First Six Ecumenical Councils. The propers also reflect this commemoration, which is made annually on the Sunday from July 13th to 19th. The Fathers at the Seventh Ecumenical Council are commemorated separately, on the Sunday from October 11th to 17th.

Epistle - Hebrews 13:7-16
Gospel - John 17:1-13

Tone of the week = Tone 6 (what's that? - click here ...)

This Sunday we welcome Msgr. Tom Molloy to the Church of the Resurrection, as our guest celebrant. Many years, Msgr. Tom!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Commemoration: Venerable Anthony of the Caves

Troparion (Tone 4): You renounced and left the world, following Christ in the spirit of the Gospel. Living a life of an angel, you settled in the peaceful shelter of Mount Athos. After that, you came to the mountains of Kiev with the blessing of the fathers. You ended your life of labor there, casting light over all your homeland. Showing the path of the kingdom to all monks, you led them on to Christ: now beg him to save our souls, O venerable Anthony.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Notable Feast Days - Month of July

While things seem to have a slower pace over the summer and liturgically as we journey through the days and weeks after Pentecost, there are some significant commemorations and feasts in the month of July, including some of particular note for our tradition:

Tuesday, July 10 - Venerable Anthony of the Caves, the first of all the Monks of Rus' to lead a monastic life during the sovereignty of Vladimir the Great (see below). He was a hermit, who in the laura called “the Caves” followed the monastic life which he had learned on Mt. Athos. He was the founder of Russian monasticism.

Sunday, July 15 - Vladimir the Great, Equal to the Apostles. Grand Duke of Rus' who sought to bring Christianity to his realm and thus to our ancestral Slavic lands. Son of Prince Svyatoslav, grandson of Igor and Olga, he was pagan for the first part of his life. He sent out envoys to find the religion best suited for his people, and he and his court were later baptized in the orthodox faith. It was his envoys who, upon hearing the Divine Liturgy in Hagia Sophia, described the experience to their master by saying "we no longer knew whether we were in heaven or on earth".

Friday, July 20 -  Feast of the Holy and Glorious Apostle Elijah (a/k/a St. Elias), the Tishbite, who was a prophet of the Lord in the days of Ahab, the king of Israel and defended the rights of the one God against the unfaithful people with such a strength of spirit that he prefigured not only John the Baptist but even Christ himself. Written prophecies do not remain, but his memory is faithfully kept, especially on Mount Carmel. simple feast which falls on a Friday this year, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on this date at 7PM. Propers, hymns and hymn selection (order of worship) for this Feast Day will be posted on the For the Faithful resource page as soon as possible.

[adapted from: Byzantine Monthly Menaion - Volume 11 (July), Metropolitan Cantor Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, 2005]

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our Liturgical Glossary: "Menaion"

Menaion – refers to the annual fixed cycle of services in the Eastern Christian Churches. The liturgical texts for celebrations on the Menaion are contained in twelve volumes called menaia. Each menaion will contain the services for an entire month. The liturgical year for Eastern Christians begins in September, so the Menaion for September is the first volume of the set.
[adapted from Menaion - OrthodoxWiki (]

Menaeon (alternate spelling) – consists of 12 books for 12 months. These books contain the text of services of unchanging feasts and also the daily office of each Saint.
[Greek Catholic Dictionary, Rev. Basil Shereghy, S.T.D. and Rev. Vladimir Vancik, S.T.D., Pittsburgh Byzantine Diocesan Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1951, pg. 47]

Friday, July 6, 2012

Propers & Hymns - Sixth Sunday After Pentecost - July 8, 2012

Propers, hymns and hymn selection (order of worship) for the Sixth Sunday After Pentecost (Sunday, July 8, 2012) are available on the For the Faithful resource page.

Epistle - Romans 12:6-14
Gospel - Matthew 9:1-8

Hope everyone enjoyed this Independence Day week!