Menaion

Created on: 29 September 2023

The hymnography for all the fixed date commemorations is contained in the Menaion. The word derives from μήνας, the Greek for ‘month’.  So, there is one volume of the Menaion for each month – twelve volumes in total.  Volume I begins on 1st September, the eccliastical new year, and Volume XII ends on 31st August.  Each calendar date of the year has its own service in the Menaion, so there are at least 366 complete services (because there’s one for February 29th in Leap Years).  In other words, the Menaion contains complete sets of hymns for a specific commemoration.  However, there are rather more than 366 because many dates will have alternative services for perhaps a more recent or local saint.

In addition to the commemorations from the Menaion, based on the fixed calendar date, there are other commemorations or themes based on the Paschal calendar – That is, based on how many days or weeks before or after Pascha such a date falls.  For example, the feast of Palm Sunday, Thomas Sunday, Ascension, Pentecost and All Saints do not have a fixed date from year to year but they occur a certain number of days before or after Pascha.  They will vary each year, according to the date of Pascha.  In fact, all the days of Lent and all the days between Pascha and Pentecost have their own set of hymns and, even after Pentecost and All Saints (the Sunday after Pentecost), throughout the rest of the year there are still hymns sung according to the day of the week and according to how many weeks you happen to be after Pascha.

The commemorations and hymns that are determined by the varying date of Pascha are contained in three different books – the Triodion, the Pentecostarion and the Octoechos.

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