Exerpts from "The Typikon Interpreted"

by Mikhail Skaballanovich

The Studite Monastery, founded perhaps as early as the 5th century, had, as regards the divine services, received such a stable and well-defined structure from his abbot, St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826) in the 9th century that it immediately became a model for monasteries all throughout Byzantium.

This circumstance also indicates that even as concerns the daily divine services, which constitute the spinal chord of every monastery's life, St. Theodore imparted, so to say, a special coloring, different from the practice of other contemporary monasteries, and somehow elevating it.

In the practice then current in the East, there may have been the same sort of diversity as one found in the West, where a whole series of abbots in the 6th-8th centuries sometimes provided quite different rites for the daily divine services.

In the East of the 9th century, there were two main rites for the daily services: the first may be termed the "Jerusalem" rite, the second, the "Constantinopolitan".

It is possible, and quite probable, that the monasteries of Constantinople and other places, following one or another monastic rule (e.g., those of St. Pachomius, or of St. Basil), had services which differed little from cathedral and parish services. Only such an assumption explains why the liturgical reform of St. Theodore in the Studite Monastery brought the latter so quickly to the fore and for whole centuries rendered it the arbiter of liturgical practice for the entire western half of the Greco-Byzantine Church.

If, then, the liturgical rite of St. Theodore coincides literally with the Holy Sepulcher rite of that period, it is a most natural, though not essential, supposition that St. Theodore the Studite borrowed this rite from it (he did not create it, for in general this is not done by individual persons, and this is particularly unlikely given the striking coincidence with the other rite). There is also earlier evidence for this, even from the lifetime of St. Theodore, in the reception into the Studite Typicon of the works of the hymnographers of St. Sabbas' Monastery in Palestine: Andrew of Crete, Cosmas of Maiuma and John of Damascus.

If the liturgical rite of the Studite Monastery were shared in common with neighboring monasteries in the time of St. Theodore, it would not have been termed "Studite". But while he borrowed the rite of daily services from the Church of the Resurrection and the Palestinian monasteries, St. Theodore had to make certain changes in them, which gave them the right to a special name.

And one can see which direction these changes would take. The Palestinian liturgical rite in Constantinople naturally had to adapt to the Typicon of Haghia Sophia and the cathedral churches.

And we observe such adaptation in the Studite typica. One sees traces of it in the daily divine services - the omission of the hours for many days and the kathismata for certain days; during the ecclesiastical year, e.g., the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts daily during the Great Fast. These peculiarities, it is true, belong to monuments of the Studite Typicon which date from after the lifetime of St. Theodore, but the significance which these peculiarities have therein, and the fact that they are common to all these typica, guarantee that they date back to St. Theodore.

In the absence of a copy of an ecclesiastical typicon which one might ascribe directly to St. Theodore, when the question arises of how the daily services in the Studite Monastery were structured and looked in his time, one must turn exclusively to the works of the holy father.

These works permit one to say that the divine services were celebrated in the monastery seven times a day, beginning with midnight (St. Theodore, Great Catechesis, §17).

The brethren were summoned to the services by the sound of a semandron.

The following psalms are mentioned as forming part of the Hours: 5 at the First Hour; 90 at the Sixth; 85 at the Ninth; 103 at Vespers.

Mention is made that the life of the saint being celebrated is read at Matins (ibid., §73); and three times a week, at Compline, the abbot or one of the senior monks reads catechetical discourses to the brethren (ibid., §12, 6. 17. Testament, § 11. Letter 1).

The liturgy was apparently not celebrated on every weekday; at the Sunday liturgy, evidently, not all the brethren received Communion; though others communed at each liturgy (Lesser Catechesis, §107-159)."

Finally, the most important daily services of the present type - Vespers and Matins - are given by a number of the so-called complete founders' typica, i.e., typicons with a detailed order for the service for each day of the Church year, which were given to various monasteries by their founders. The majority of these typica call themselves 'Studite' and are more or less close to the rules of the Studite Monastery, as far as one may judge concerning the latter from the above-enumerated monuments. Though in places they also reflect the practice of the Great Church, this is not the case with respect to the daily services.

The most ancient of such founders' typica is the one given in 1034 by Patriarch Alexis of Constantinople to the Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God, which he founded near the city. It has come down to us only in Slavonic translations and in manuscripts of the 11th-15th centuries (hence, almost contemporary with its author). Since all the most ancient monuments of the ecclesiastical typicon in Russia transmit only this typicon, it is suggested that it was introduced into the practice of the Monastery of the Caves of Kiev by one of the founders of the latter, St. Theodosius of the Caves.

[Footnote: The Chronicle, in its entry for the year 1051, says that St. Theodosius, considering the increase in the number of brethren in his community, "began to look for monastic rules. Then he found Michael, a monk of the Studite Monastery, who had come from Greece with Metropolitan George, and he [Michael] began to search among his books for the typicon of the monks of the Studium, and he found there a copy thereof, and the rules in his own monastery, how to chant the monastic hymns, how to perform prostrations, and read readings, and stand in church, etc., and what food to eat in refectory on which days, all set forth," and from the Monastery of the Caves "the typicon passed to all the [other] monasteries" (Laurentian Chronicle, edition of the Archaeographic Commission, St. Petersburg, 1872, p. 156). But according to the Life of St. Theodosius composed by St. Nestor, Theodosius "sent one of the brethren to Constantinople, to Ephraim the eunuch, that he might make a copy of the Studite Typicon and send it to him"; this was about the year 1062 (Life, published by Bogdansky in "Readings of the Society of the History and Antiquity of Russia", 1858, p.111b). These contradictory accounts may be reconciled if one suggests that the Monk Michael had only an incomplete copy of the Typicon, perhaps the Hypotyposis, and that ten years later St. Theodosius felt the need for a complete copy. Prior to the appearance of the Studite Typicon, and after it, before the Mongol invasion, it is thought that in cathedrals and parish churches in Russia they used the Typicon of the Great Church of Constantinople. The Council of Vladimir in 1274 and that of Constantinople of 1276 witness to the existence in the Church of Russia of certain customs of the Great Church, such as the performance of proskomedia by the deacon (apparently, such could take place, and was in general a most ancient custom), the celebration of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on Cheese Wednesday and Friday, and on Great Friday, the reading of the Gospel by the hierarch four times a year (the first being of the [12] passion Gospels [at Holy Friday Matins], at the paschal liturgy and vespers; and during the procession on September 1st); the exaltation of the Cross employing the peculiarities of the Great Church; some of these instances are confirmed by councils, others are disaffirmed (A. Pavlov, "Russian Historical Library" [St. Petersburg, 1880, Vol. I, ##6, 12]), yet all were adhered to here and there until the 15th or even the 17th century, especially in the Novgorod province, which comprised the whole of the north of Russia. Furthermore, in comparatively late manuscripts of the 14th-15th centuries, translations of whole rites of the Great Church were preserved in Slavonic translation, e.g., the rite for the washing of the altar-table on Great Thursday, the rite for the New Year on September 1st, processions (lity) according to the typicon of the Great Church. Slavonic manuscripts of the asmatica testify to this, (see, e.g., the expression "penie v tritekti" in ancient typica, which points to the existence of this service), and finally even a fragment of the Typicon of the Great Church in the Slavonic translation of Archbishop Clement of Novgorod (+1299), at the Khludov Library in Moscow (Popov, "Addenda to the Description of the Manuscripts of the Khudov Library", [Moscow, 1875]. p. 117), etc. For more detailed discussion and citations see Archpriest A. Lisitsyn, "The Original Slavonic Typicon" (St. Petersburg, 1910), where the author points out another fragment (called the Triodion) of a Slavonic translation of the Typicon of the Great Church in the description of Popov, p. 117.

In its disciplinary section it is entitled "Rules Dealing with the Food & Drink of Monks, concerning Every Other Rite, and concerning the Time Spent in Church & Elsewhere, Instituted Not according to the Rules Written for the Studite Monastery by Our Venerable Father Theodore the Confessor, Who was Abbot There, but Transmitted in Writing by the Holy Alexis, the Ecumenical Patriarch, to the Monastery Dedicated to the Divine Mother, Which He Founded".

[Footnote: The most ancient copies of the Studite-Alexian Typicon are: 1) a manuscript of the Library of the Moscow Printing-press, #285/142/1206, of the 11th-12th centuries, lacking its beginning (it starts with Meatfare Sunday) and end, including only the typicon for the Triodion; and instead of the menology (which may have been excised at a later date) a kondakarion, some of it notated, for the whole year; 2) a nearly complete (its starts with the Sunday of the Prodigal) and full (it includes a full menologion and a lengthy disciplinary section) manuscript in the Moscow Synodal Library, #330/380, of the 12th-13th centuries, in a more extensive edition than the former; closer to the Typicon of the Great Church that the former (the commemorations of the Sundays of the Great Fast are consequently no less ancient, although there are more commemorations (12); and 3) that of the former Holy Wisdom-Novgorod Library (now preserved at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy), #1136, dating from the 13th century, containing only the Triodion with the vespers of Meatfare Sunday and the menologion for up to January 17th; 4) manuscript 144/1236 of the Moscow Printing-press Library; 5) Moscow Synodal Library manuscript 333/381, copied in 1398, lacking a disciplinary section; 6) #905/382, of the 15th century. All these manuscripts, beginning with #330, are almost literally identical to each other, having clearly been copied from one manuscript; the later copies occasionally exhibit minor changes to peculiar Studite practices (e.g., no mention of lenten liturgies on all days of the [Great] Fast; the commemoration of St. Theodore on November 11th being done with less solemnity, and his title being given as "father" instead of "our father". There are also a few fragments of a Studite-Alexian Typicon in a manuscript of the former St. Cyril-White Lake Library (also at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy), #125, et al.

Translated from the Russian by Isaac Lambertsen, from Mikhail Skaballanovich 's "The Typicon Interpreted", Vol., I (Kiev, Korchak-Novitsky Press, 1910), pp. 395-401.





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