On why I am working on the Systema Typikou, and not Biolakis (TME)…

In Orthodox Christianity: liturgics, Orthodox Typikon: Systema Typikou in English on November 25, 2008 at 2:57 am

I received a question recently with regard to the work on the Systema Typikou:

Dear Fr Patrick,  But the “Systema Typikou” is not in force. The Typikon of the Great Church (Konstantinos and Biolakes editions) is!  Why do you choose the Papagiannes work?

“The Papagiannes work,” Systema Typikou, is the most clear and well-assembled typikon available to me. It shows the various findings of the ancient typika which are available to us, all assembled into one volume. This provides a firm basis for constructing a typikon of Orthodox services as they ought to be celebrated in American Orthodox parishes.  Violakis is deficient in this; it is laconic in certain places, incorrect in others, and fails to address certain liturgical difficulties.

The Biolakis, TME, volume has many problems, even some rather egregious errors.  Archbishop CHRISTODOULOS, of thrice-blessed memory, began to address these in various decrees: the restoration of the Orthros Gospel to its proper place before Psalm 50, and the censing of the Gospel in the Liturgy in the more (traditional) solemn way.  Also, Biolakis, as Papagiannis says in his introduction, assumes a general knowledge of the typikon of Orthodox services on the part of chanters (psalteis) and clergy. This cannot be assumed in our day. Also, Biolakis makes little reference to the monastic practices. This relationship of the monastic typikon to the parochial is essential for all to understand.

Of course, in the end, the episcopal authority of any local church ought to provide the basis for liturgical practice. In our region, here in America, there is great confusion. It seems that “every man does what is right in his own eyes.” So, in the interest in heightening liturgical knowledge, I am busy bringing this holy typikon into the English tongue. May this humble work be a helpful contribution to the building up of our most holy Orthodox Christian faith in this land!

  1. Fr Patrick,

    I can’t say that I agree with you. The Papagiannes publications, as were many of the Christodoulos liturgical (blue) encyclicals contain many innovations that are not universally accepted, even within the confines of the Archdiocese of Athens, let alone the Church of Greece and then the Oecumenical Patriarchate. Why you choose it as your starting point is still not clear to me.

    Anyone who has studied the ancient typika knows that no two are alike! Even within Mount Athos each of the twenty main monasteries have their own typikon! To simply pick and choose between them all is to create a “new” chaos.

    I would disagree with you in that you are placing yourself on a “firm basis” by depending on the Papagiannes publications; you are putting yourself firmly in the road of innovative experiment instead. It is much safer to work backwards from Biolakes-Konstantinos and then come to an understanding as to what was actually happening and how these Typika that are the ones “in force” came into existence. All typika always assume a practical understanding of the context of their content.

    There are even many who would try to re-establish the cathedral order, as if that is what should be done in the parishes. However, maybe there is a reason why it did not continue to be used after the Latin occupation(!).

    May I suggest you read Fr Georgios Regas’ _Zetemata Typikou_ if you are interested in understanding the connection and some differences between the monastic and parish typika, although the parish typika are all monastic in their content with select adaptations for the parish.

    For instance, is it or is it not better for the bishop to be present at the reading of the Sunday heothinon Gospel, as was the Patriarch in Jerusalem in the 4th c? I believe so, and this is the reason for the moving of the Gospel to after the Kanons in the Great Church, when the patriarch would ascend the throne. Does that order need to be followed in the parish each Sunday when a bishop isn’t present? No, of course. However, you see there is a reason for seeming inconsistencies in the Order of the Great Church. This is not taken into account when we are arbitrarily going to *an* ancient order for the reading of the Sunday heothinon. And I say “an” ancient order because there were others too, such as those that moved the reading to after the Sixth ode of the kanons.

    Fr., I wish you every strength and good will, but I can’t agree that the Papagiannes innovations should be our model in America.

    All the best!

    Agape in Christ,
    Fr Konstantinos

  2. Dear Fr. O’Grady,
    Have you considered Papachristou in Greece who publishes a typiki diatzxis with references and justification for all points that may seem obscure. I have found him to be more accurate since he cites where he finds his information i.e. Violakis, Konstantinou, Rigas, Farlekas, et. al. His observations are sometimes different from those of the Church of Greece or Violakis, and he justifies where he finds them. Cordially, Fr. John

    • Yes, thank you for the reference. I am not familiar with Papachristou’s work, but I shall look into it. It isn’t a yearly publication, is it? If so, then it will not be nearly substantive enough to deal with the thorough-going, basic elements of the conjunction of services which may occur.
      Remember, in the end, we need a complete Typikon which handles ALL possible cases (periptoseis) which can occur, under BOTH the old and the new calendars (since we need to be set for any settlement on the calendar issue which may occur in the future.

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