Miscellaneous Discussions from the Ustav Mailing List

How can we identify the "Alleluia" days during, for example, the Nativity Fast?

Generally, one can identify the days on which "Alleluia" is appointed by  referring to either the Typicon or the Menaion.  However, since not  everyone has easy access to these books, I have worked out the following  criteria for determining whether "Alleluia" is appointed during one of  the  lesser fast periods:

1.  It must be a weekday, i.e., Monday through Friday.

2.  It must not be during the festal period of one of the great feasts  of  the Lord or the Theotokos.  Such festal periods that fall during the  lesser  fasts are: 

  1. for the Transfiguration (5 to 13 August), 
  2. for the  Entry  of the Theotokos into the Temple (20 to 25 November)
  3. for the  Nativity of Christ (20 to 24 December).
3.  The service in the Menaion must be a simple or double commemoration  with no Apostol or Gospel readings appointed for the Divine Liturgy.   This  can also be determined from a Liturgical Calendar such as that published  by  the St. John of Kronstadt Press.

During the Apostles Fast, the Typicon and/or Menaion indicate that  "Alleluia" applies to the following days: 

  • 19, 20, 22, 23, 27-31 May,
  • 1,  3, 5-7, 10, 15, 16, 20, 22 June. 
One might also add the following days,  for which no explicit indication is found in either the Tyicon or  Menaion,  but which meet the above criteria and do not differ appreciably from  other  days on which "Alleluia" is explicitly indicated: 
  • 26 May and 2, 4, 13 June.
During the Dormition Fast, the Typicon and Menaion indicate that  "Alleluia"  applies to the following days: 
  • 3 and 4 August.
During the Nativity Fast, the Typicon and/or Menaion indicate that  "Alleluia" applies to the following days: 
  • 15, 19, 26, 29 November 
  • 1,  2,  3, 7, 8, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19 December. 
One might also add 
  • 18  November
 for which no explicit indication is found in either the Typicon or  Menaion,  but which meets the above criteria and does not differ appreciably from other days on which "Alleluia" is explicitly indicated.

It was stated in an earlier posting that one can determine if "Alleluia"  is  appointed by checking the Menaion to see whether or not stichera for the  Theotokos are provided in Vespers for "Lord, I have cried."  However,  this  method is not completely accurate.  For example, when a double  commemoration occurs, three stichera are provided for each saint, but  there  are not stichera provided for the Theotokos.  This occurs on the  following  days for which "Alleluia" is indicated: 6 June, 19 November and 15  December.  Also, on 26 November, no stichera for the Theotokos are  provided  in the Menaion, and the Typicon says that stichera from the Octoechos  should be used. 

It should be noted that, besides the simple service or double service to  which "Alleluia" applies, additional services are sometimes also found  in  the Menaion under a particular date.  Usually, these additional services  are to later saints that are venerated in local churches.  If it is  desired  to perform one of these additional services, then the simple or double  service to which "Alleluia" applies is superceded and the Lenten service  is  not performed.  The simple service is usually then read at Compline.

In general, the performing of Lenten services during the three lesser  fasts  is now somewhat rare.  In many places, the Lenten service is only  performed  on the first day of the Apostles and Nativity Fasts.  Occasionally, I  have  seen the Lenten service performed on other days, but such instances have  been more the exception than the rule.  This is a great pity, because we  have become accustomed to observing these fasts without any Lenten  liturgical expression.  This lamentable state of affairs was apparently  recognized at the Pan-Russian Council of 1917-18, and, according to  Bishop  Afanasij (Sakharov), a prominent expert on litrugics, the Council issued  a  decree "concerning the restoration of the practice of performing  services  with alleluia on the appointed days of the lesser fasts."  However, it  is  difficult to say to what extent, if any, this decree was ever implemented.  If anyone has the full text of this decree available, I would be  interested  in hearing from you.

This discussion comes at an opportune time, since we are about to begin  the  Nativity Fast.  It would be most heartening if churches that conduct  daily  services were now to begin serving the "Alleluia" services on the days  appointed during this Fast.  And for those of us who don't have the  opportunity to attend daily services, perhaps we could add the Prayer of  St. Ephraim, with its prostrations and bows, to our Morning and Evening  prayers on those days.

From Reader Daniel Olson - Posted Nov 26, 1998 NS

The "Alleluia" days in the Nativity fast are the following, as marked in the Typicon, provided they do not fall on a Saturday or Sunday:
 (Dates are Julian): 

  • Nov. 15
  • Nov. 19
  • Nov. 26
  • Nov. 29
  • Dec. 1
  • Dec. 2
  • Dec. 8
  • Dec. 11
  • Dec. 14
  • Dec. 16
  • Dec. 18
  • Dec. 19
Several other days in between those COULD have an Alleluia-service, but there is a service for a later Russian Saint added following the earlier, simpler weekday service for those days.

From Fr John Shaw
Posted Nov 25, 1998 NS 

Alleluia" days are weekdays in the Fasts on which only three stichera  for  the day are appointed to be sung on "Lord, I have cried" at Vespers.    More  importantly, and hence the name, is that also "The Lord is God" at  Mattins  is replaced by "Alleluia" with its verses (as in the Great Fast).   In  the  "lesser" Fasts it is common practice only to observe "Alleluia" days on  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, although some (as indicated by one  repsonse to my question concerning the Office of the Typika) suggest  that  they may be observed on all weekdays.   The fact that only one (or  perhaps  two) such days are indicated for the Fast of the Dormition results on  practice in their not being currently generally observed in that Fast. 
In the longer Fasts of the Apostles and the Nativity rather more days are indicated for this observance.

"Alleluia" days are usually marked as such in the Great Book of Hours.

Those Saturdays on which the service for the Departed is used are also referred to as "Alleluia" days, but the Lenten form of service is not used.

From Archimandrite Kyril Jenner.
Posted Wed, nove 25, 1998 NS

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