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The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

ISSN: 2658-7599 (print)
2713-3141 (online)

The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom “Outcompeting” the Liturgy of St Basil the Great in the Church of Constantinople

Stefano Parenti, Doctor of Eastern Christian Studies Professor, Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Pontifical Athenaeum of St Anselm (Rome)
pp. 9–42
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2018.28.23042
At the present time, exploring the history of worship implies not only analyzing liturgical texts and the processes of their formation but also studying the practices of performing divine services, as reflected in written sources, such as canons, hagiographic literature, sermons, and writings of church figures. These sources contain indications of worship peculiarities in various ages and regions. The article focuses on the complex phenomenon of the Orthodox worship of the Byzantine rite. Celebrated nowadays only ten times a year, the Liturgy of St Basil the Great used to be the main Byzantine liturgy for Sundays and holidays over the church year. However, due to certain circumstances, it has taken a back seat. On the contrary, the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, formerly considered as a “standby” and intended for the weekdays, has gradually come to the fore during the past millennium and has begun to be viewed as the main liturgy of the Byzantine rite, as evidenced not only by liturgical manuscripts but also by surviving indirect data about the celebration practices. Despite the indisputable fact of removing the Liturgy of St Basil from leading positions, the causes of this change were not previously the subject of historical and liturgical analysis. Thanks to the achievements of comparative liturgics and the contrastive analysis of liturgical and hagiographic evidence, the author points out the major causes for this displacement and associates them not with convenience and the concision of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom but with a whole complex of changes in the practice of liturgical piety, characteristic of monastic and lay churches in Constantinople.
Keywords: Liturgy of St Basil the Great, Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, anaphora, Byzantine rite, Orthodox worship, euchologion, typicon.

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