Contains the pericopes of the four Gospels of the New Testament arranged according to the order they are read throughout the year in divine Service, for each day and occasion. From the 7th century, these books begin to be found with the earlist form of our chant, psaltic notation. This form of early notation is called ekphonetic. [^]
ὁ Ἀπόστολος the Apostolos or Epistle
Contains the pericopes of the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles of the Apostles arranged according to the order they are read throughout the year in divine Service, for each day and occasion. Also, in the beginning are found the prokeimena for before and after the Epistle readings for each Sunday, according to mode, as well as the weekday Epistle prokeimena. Also included on the great Feasts of our Lord and some feasts of the Theotokos are the special Antiphon verses and refrains. Examples of of early Apostolos manuscripts also contain ekphonetic notation.[^]
τὸ Εὐχολόγιον the Euchologion or Book of Prayers or Needs
Contains the divine Liturgies used today, the diataxeis (orders), prayers and petitions of the vepsers, orthros, small and great hagiasmoi (water blessings), and the rest of the mysteries, as well as many prayers and services for various occasions and situations.[^]
τὸ Ὡρολόγιον the Hôrologion or Book of Hours
Contains the services of the hours, vepsers, orthros, apodeipnon, mesonyktikon, kanons of supplication, services of preparation and thanksgiving for holy Communion, as well as the mênologion containing the apolytikia and kontakia for each feast and saint. In short, it contains the basic structure for the daily cycle of services.
τὸ Ψαλτήριον the Psaltêrion or Psalter
Contains the 150 Psalms of David divided into 20 kathismata, with three staseis in each kathisma. After the Psalms are the Nine Biblical Odes and special tables regulating how the book is used throughout the year.[^]
τὸ Προφητολόγιον the Prophêtologion
This book is no longer used for divine Services today. Old Testament prophecies used to be read daily in the Church. Today the practice has been preserved only on the most important, so-called “great” feasts and commemorations of the celebrated Saints, as well as the week days of the great Fast. This book contained the ordained daily Old Testament readings arranged according to the order in which they were read throughout the year. Completely ekphonetically notated specimines of this book exist from as early as the 7th century. [^]
τὰ Μηναῖα the Mênaia or Books of the Months
There are twelve Mênaia, one for each month of the year and contain the asmatic akolouthiai, or sung services, their typikon (rubrics) and the synaxarion of the stationary feasts of the year and each Saint.
τὸ Τριῴδιον the Triôdion or book of Three Odes
Contains the akolouthiai from the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee to great Saturday, both feasts and daily services.[^]
τὸ Πεντηκοστάριον the Pentêkostarion
Contains the akolouthiai from the Sunday of Pascha to the Sunday of All Saints, feasts and daily services.[^]
ἡ Παρακλητικὴ ἢ Ὀκτώηχος the Paraklêtikê or Oktôêchos
Contains the eight modes [êchoi] chanted in the akolouthiai of each week. The duration of each mode, beginning from Satturday evening, is one week, and is referred to as the period of the mode.[^]
τὸ Θεοτοκάριον the Theotokarion
Contains kanons of supplication chanted or read in the vespers or apodeipna and are addressed to the Theotokos.[^]
τὸ Ἐκλογάριον the Eklogarion
Contains the eklogai or “selections” of the polyeleoi for the various feasts and celebrated Saints. The eklogai are selected psalm vereses to be used after the first two polyeleoi psalms for the orthros vigil. The verses are specially selected in relation to the spiritual theme or commemoration of the feast.[^]
τὸ Εἱρμολόγιον the Heirmologion
The heirmologion is no longer a commonly encountered book, although one still runs across it in some older monasteries now and then. It contains the heirmoi of the kanons of the eight êchoi, so they can be easily found when needed. In more ancient times these books began to be notated. Some of the oldest notated music books are heirmologia. [^]
τὸ Στιχηράριον the Stichêrarion
This book is similar to the heirmologion, except for the fact that it contains the stichera used throughout the year and not the heirmoi. The study of the notational development and evolution chronicled in these manuscripts is of primary interest to the field of Byzantine musicology.[^]
τὸ Λειτουργικὸν the Leitourgikon
This is a special book containing the divine Liturgies used by the Church today, namely those of St Basil the Great, St John Chrysostom and the so-called liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. To this class of books belong the Archieratika, Hieratika and Hierodiakonika. [^]
τὸ Ἁγίασματάριον the Hagiasmatarion
This book, sometimes referred to as the small Euchologion, contains a selection of the prayers and services from the Euchologion that are most commonly used by the priests. [^]
τὸ Τυπικὸν the Typikon
Finally, this liturgical book defines the taxis, or order, or typos (form), by which the akolouthiai should be performed. More on this particular book in the typikon section of this site. [^]
P s a l t ic N o t e s is a web presence dedicated to being a resource for students and practitioners of the blessed Psaltic Art, the Byzantine Chant of the Orthodox Church, offering news, resources and information for the transmission and cultivation of our psaltic heritage.
Milos Velimirovic, the Serbian-born, eminent American Byzantine Musicologist Fell Asleep in the Lord on 19 April 2008, in Bridgewater, Virginia.→
Athens, Greece: A segment of the K. A. Psachos Music Library Collection is now online.→
About the author
The Rev. Dr. Konstantinos Terzopoulos is a Greek Orthodox Priest, Theologian and Byzantine musicologist. He is an international speaker, researcher and publisher on Byzantine musicology [CV], hymnology and typikon. He is also the Founder and President of Psaltiki, Inc., a nonprofit organization for the advancement of the Psaltic Art and Byzantine Chant in America.
psaltiki, inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) existing to promote the advancement of the Hellenic Psaltic Art:
Order your copy of Ὁ Πρωτοψάλτης τῆς Μεγάλης τοῦ Χριστοῦ Ἐκκλησίας, Κωνσταντῖνος Βυζάντιος, καὶ ἡ Συμβολή του στὴ Ψαλτικὴ Τέχνη (Athens 2004).