Definitions and Sources

a. The English words vespers and matins come from the Latin words for evening and morning, respectively. Likewise, the names for these two services in other Orthodox liturgical languages (Greek and Church Slavonic, among them) are essentially the words for the same two times of the day in those languages, and by extension the names for the services celebrated at those times. In the Greek language orthros is the word for the morning service, as well as for the early morning, and it is often used in English as well as a name for the morning service, also called matins. The words vespers and matins are, strictly speaking, plural nouns but are often construed as singular; in these pages they have been used both ways, but most often as singular.

b. A liturgical day includes the cycle of services beginning with vespers in the evening and ending with the 9th hour the following afternoon. Thus when we speak of services for Sunday, or the Resurrection service, we begin with vespers, which is served Saturday evening. Similarly, vespers for the 25th of the month will be served on the evening of the 24th, and the Wednesday services begin on Tuesday evening. (As regards rubrical instructions vespers is counted as belonging to the new day, although the change from one day to the next actually takes place during the course of vespers.)

c. “Current tone” means of the tone of the week, that is, the tone of the Octoechos that is currently in use.

d. “Of the saint” vs. “Of the day”: The expressions “of the saint” and “of the saint of the day” mean the saint (or the icon, or other fixed feast) being commemorated that calendar date (for example, the saint for September 26, if that is the current date). Any reference to “saint” means the hymn can be found in the menaion. Thus “troparion of the saint” and “troparion from the menaion” are equivalent expressions. On the other hand, the expressions “of the day,” “for the day,” etc. mean of the day of the week (Monday, Tuesday, etc.), often the current or present day of the week. Thus, “troparion of the day” means, on Monday, the troparion of the Bodiless Hosts; on Tuesday, the troparion of St. John the Baptist; on Wednesday, the troparion of the Cross; on Thursday, of the Apostles and St. Nicholas; on Friday, the Cross again; on Saturday, the departed and all saints. 

e. “Resurrectional” and “Sunday” are equivalent; thus “Sunday Troparion” and “Resurrectional Troparion” and “Troparion of the Resurrection” are equivalent expressions. “Resurrection” means “taken from the service of the Resurrection in the Tone of the Week.”

f. Sticheron (pl. stichera) is the name for the short hymns often sung during the services, for example at Lord, I call, at the Aposticha, and at the Praises and elsewhere. Likewise a “verse” refers to the short psalm verses sung between the stichera at the Aposticha (these are called pripevy in Church Slavonic and stoichoi in Greek).

g. “glory:” means “Glory to the Father . . . Spirit” and “now:” means “now and ever . . . Amen.” “glory and now:” means “Glory to the Father . . . Amen.”

h. “Glory verse,” “Glory” and “Doxastichos” mean a hymn (usually to a saint) that is sung after “Glory to the Father ...” but before “Now and ever ...” The expressions “The saint has a glory,” “there is a glory,” “glory for the saint (if there is one)” etc. refer to such a hymn. When there is “no glory,” this means that there is no such hymn prescribed and therefore we sing “Glory to the Father . . . Spirit” followed immediately by “now and ever . . . Amen.” with no intervening hymn (and this is what is denoted by “glory and now:”)

i. A “lesser saint” (sometimes called a “minor” or “small” saint) is not, of course, a saint who is less important, but rather one whose celebration is smaller or less than other ranks of saints.

j. “Temple.” Following the terminology of Orthodox service books and rubrics books, “church” refers to the community of the faithful, which is also called the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the New Israel, the People of God, and other titles; while “temple”—as in the Jewish faith from which our worship developed—refers to the building in which the Church worships. In Christ’s own risen Body the two concepts are joined, since his resurrected body is called a “temple” (John 2:21) and it also constitutes the Church which is the Body of Christ.

k. “Patronal feast” of a temple is the celebration honoring the feast or saint in whose name the temple is dedicated. “Temple saint” or “saint of the temple” is the patron saint of a temple which bears the name of a saint. Usually a “temple saint” is accorded the same rank of liturgical celebration as a “vigil saint,” that is, a saint having a vigil.


The chief sources of the information contained in these tables are: Typikon (Moskva, 1896); TSerkovnyi bogosluzhebnyi ustav v tablitsakh na vsie dni goda, sostavlennyi A. Neapolitanskim (Montreal’, Kanada : 1986), a photographic reprint of a work originally published in 1899 with the title: TSerkovnyi ustav v tablitsakh, pokazyvaiushchii ves’ poriadok tserkovnykh sluzhb riadovykh i vsie osobennosti prazdnichnykh sluzhb v techenii vremeni goda. Also consulted: Oktoikh, (Moscow: 1906); Mineia mesiachnaia (Moskva : v Sinodal’noi tip, ca. 1890); The Order for Divine Services (also titled: Liturgical calendar and rubrics (South Canaan: St. Tikhon’s Monastery). Comments, corrections, suggestions, etc. may be forwarded to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).