Thursday 3 May 2012

Services of the Pentecostarion

The services from Pascha to the Sunday of All Saints are found in the service book called the Pentecostarion also known as the  'Flowery Triodion'. The period of the Pentecostarion contains the feasts of Pascha, Ascension and Pentecost as well as the important, but lesser known feast of Mid-Pentecost which falls on the Wednesday after the Sunday of the Paralytic. On this feast we chant the dismissal hymn which begins 'In the midst of the feast give thou my thirsty soul to drink of the waters of piety...'.   and we commemorate the occasion at mid-feast when Christ went to the temple to teach the Jews which is recounted in the Gospel of St. John (John 7: 14-30). We also hear, throughout the service, references to Christ's command that 'If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink'. This reference to Christ as the 'living water' is the reason why the Church appoints the Lesser Blessing of the Waters to be served on the Wednesday of Mid-Pentecost.

From the Sunday of Pascha to its leave-taking on the eve of the Ascension we start every service with the Paschal troparion 'Christ is risen from the dead, by death hath He trampled down death, and on those in the graves hath He bestowed life' sung three times. On those services which normally have a full beginning with 'Glory to Thee O God, Glory to Thee' followed by 'O heavenly King' we say or sing  the Paschal troparion three times and then move straight on to the trisagion (Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us'.  On those services which begin with just  'O come let us worship...' we use the Paschal troparion three times and omit the former prayer entirely.

After the leave-taking of Pascha we omit both Christ is Risen and 'O heavenly King' and start the services with the trisagion  or 'O come let us worship...' as appropriate.  The prayer 'O Heavenly King' is used again during the feast of Pentecost.

From Pascha to Pentecost we do not prostrate in Church even on weekdays. Prostrations begin with the reading of the 'kneeling prayers' which are read at the Vespers of the Sunday of Pentecost. In many churches this service is celebrated straight after the Liturgy on Pentecost Sunday morning.

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