Parish Package‎ > ‎Vision‎ > ‎3. The Challenges‎ > ‎

3.1 Uniformity and Diversity

As a matter of fact, from the fifteenth century until the nineteenth century, all Orthodox Churches, both parishes and monasteries, theoretically followed the same basic Typikon of the famous St. Savas Monastery in Palestine. But parishes are not monasteries; and in order to meet the constraints of time and personnel, parishes inevitably shortened their services. This presented the opportunity for arbitrary and ill-advised modifications from parish to parish. In order to discourage such arbitrary modifications of the rubrics, in the mid nineteenth century the Ecumenical Patriarchate created what would become the parish Typikon. The body of liturgical materials remained the same, but many abbreviations and changes in the order of the services were made for parish use.

For the churches that have adopted the “Greek” parish Typikon, additional books are published that reflect the new order. Since there has been a reluctance to change the traditional books, i.e. Octoechos, Menaion, etc. these new books make reference to the traditional books with respect to content, while indicating the new order with rubrical instructions. The instructions can be intricate and confusing to both priests and singers.

This new parish Typikon has not been universally adopted by all Orthodox Churches, but only those under the influence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. For example the Jerusalem and Moscow Patriarchates did not adopt it; and obviously the monasteries did not. That diversity becomes more apparent in the USA, where neighboring Orthodox parishes of different jurisdictions use a variety of Typikons.

Another issue is the non-uniformity of content. While the content of the traditional books is basically the same, in recent centuries additional hymnography has been composed for saints and commemorations specific to local churches. These new hymns and services are typically published in separate booklets. However, in some cases the newer material has made its way into more recent editions of the traditional books like the Menaion.

So there is the challenge of producing and providing suitable materials for multiple venues within a single jurisdiction using the same content and basic Typikon, and for venues in jurisdictions that use different or additional content and a different Typikon.

<Previous                                                                                                  Next>