Method for Full Description of Akolouthies


The present method for full description of akolouthies was developed for the Catalog of the Greek Manuscripts of Philotheou Monastery. Its objectives are (a) full description of contents of akolouthies for descriptive manuscript catalogs (b) without sacrificing brevity and conciseness of description.

This version is adapted for the WWW from the original Greek version by English transliteration for all Greek terms, and italicizing superscripted elements of the mnemonic abbreviations. Greek numerals are represented by arabic numerals followed by the apostrophe ('). I find the original Greek abbreviations much easier to grasp since they represent mnemonically the familiar Greek terms in the rubrics of liturgical books. I will be happy to send a copy of the Greek version on request to anyone interest in these issues and willing to offer suggestions.

Brevity and conciseness of description can only be achieved if akolouthies and their component liturgical texts are identified primarily by reference to a standard -- either an edition readily available to the user of the catalog or a similar codex which has been fully described in the same catalog by reference to a standard edition. As always in such endeavors, brevity in describing the method is not as easy to achieve as brevity in the manuscript descriptions themselves; hopefully, readers will find the method fairly intuitive and easy to become accustomed to.

The purpose of this full description is to

The justification for full cataloging of liturgical texts can be measured, in the case of the fully described Philotheou menaia, by the number of incipits of hymns (over 200) which are not found in H. Follieri's Hymnorum Ecclesiae Graecae. It is also justified by the influential role of the Athonite monasteries in the history of Orthodox liturgical practise, documented in these codices.

Editions Adopted for the Philotheou Catalog.

The following have been adopted as standard editions for the sake of consistency with common scholarly practise:

Menaia tou holou eniautou, I - VI, Rome, 1888-1901.
Parakletike etoi Oktoechos he megale, Rome, 1885.
Pentekostarion charmosynon..., Rome, 1883.
Triodion katanyktikon..., Rome, 1879.
Euchologion to mega . . . ekdosis deutera . . . spoude kai epistasia Spyridonos Hieromon. Zerbou, Venice, 1862.

Phos Editions:
Ecclesiastike bibliotheke Phos for the Menaia (1980-90), Pentecostarion (1988), Triodion (1987), Paraklitiki (1987), Orologion (1988), and Euchologion (1986)

Use of Editions and Similar Codices as Standards.

Specific or detailed description of akolouthies or of their component parts is provided only when manuscripts differ from these standard editions. Major sections of akolouthies (hesperinon, ainoi, etc.) as well as individual hymns or other texts (stichera prosomoia, canon, oikos, etc.) are identified by mnemonic abbreviations as listed below in sections 2 and 3, not by incipit and page numbers in an edition. When the text agrees with the edition, no specific identification is needed; further specification is given only when the text differs from the edition.

This method enables readers to use the conveniently available Phos editions of the Greek liturgical books (Athens, 1980-90), which differ little in content from the above editions except for inclusion of synaxaria and texts for the neomartyrs and revisions of many typikai diataxeis in the Menaia. Brief incipits or other clarifications are provided as needed to avoid ambiguity at the occasional points of variance among these editions.1

Alternatively, brevity and specificity can also be achieved conveniently in a descriptive manuscript catalog by citing as a standard similar codices described within the same catalog. This method is used in the Philotheou catalog with older manuscripts which differ extensively from the standard editions. Even some later Philotheite manuscripts agree more with each other than with the editions, since they share a common, evolving Athonite liturgical tradition, and some are based at least partially on earlier codices in the same library.

Generic and Specific Identification of Individual Liturgical Texts

The full description of any text in a liturgical manuscript consists of a generic description (the terminology used to characterize it in the manuscript, e.g., canon, idiomelon, apolytikion, stichera prosomoia, etc.) followed by a colon and the specific identification (identification of the specific text by reference to the standard or by citation of its incipit). In addition, the mode is always given, unless it is absent from the codex being described.

Generic identification is by mnemonic abbreviations (listed in section 2, below). Specific identifications are not given unless the text found in the manuscript differs from the standard. Likewise the mode is identified only for texts which differ from the standard, or when the mode as identified in the manuscript differs from that stated for the same text in the standard.

Mode numbers occur in superscript, with plagial modes indicated by the siglum ~:

Format and Punctuation

Descriptions of individual texts within an akolouthia are set apart by a semicolon (;), while akolouthies and major divisions of akolouthies are set apart by a full stop (.). When multiple texts occur (e.g., two or three canons or two or more sets of stichera prosomoia, abbreviated Kan and Sttpr respectively) the number of canons is stated first, and the following descriptions (numbered in parentheses) are set apart by :

2. Abbreviations for Major Divisions of Akolouthies


Descriptions of liturgical books are distinguished from descriptions of other collections of texts by the incorporation of an outline of abbreviated boldface headings corresponding to the structure of the services and their major divisions. These abbreviations stand for rubrics in the manuscripts and editions; they appear without periods to avoid ambiguity with punctuation used in the format of the descriptions as described above.

List of Abbreviations.

service for distribution of holy oil preceding the liturgy. (Apodosis tou Hag. Elaiou)
lauds (Eis tous ainous)
the after-dinner service (En to apodeipno)
the service during vespers consisting of idiomela performed in the liti of the monastery church
lyxnikon, alternative term for vespers
great vespers
Mikr Hesp
small vespers

Principles of Use of Abbreviations.

The absence of one of these major divisions of an akolouthia from the manuscript when it is present in the standard is indicated by naming it in square brackets and preceded by a minus sign: [- MegHesp]

The same abbreviations occur as superscripted qualifiers in identifications of individual liturgical texts to distinguish, for example, stichera sung at lauds from stichera sung at vespers (Sttain, Stthesp see below).

3. Abbreviations for Generic Descriptions of Liturgical Texts.


Generic identification of liturgical texts is by mnemonic abbreviations given in the following list.

List of Mnemonic Abbreviations for Liturgical Texts

Pertaining to the saint commemorated. In superscript, used as a qualifier in descriptions of texts such as doxastika (Dhag), kathismata (Kthhag)and stichera prosomoia (Prhag) to indicate that the text in question is dedicated to the saint (hagios,hagia) for the day.
Lauds (ainoi) in superscript, qualifier in descriptions of texts such as the stichera (Stain) to indicate those sung at lauds, as opposed to the stichera of vespers (Stthesp)
Lection (anagnosma)
Apostich/aposticha (stichera sung near the conclusion of vespers, identified in manuscripts and printed editions by the rubrics, "Eis ton stichon, stichera" (often with the added qualifier, prosomoia or idiomela) or "Stichero apo stichou" or "tou stichou" (stichera). Also, identified by similar rubrics, sung in lauds (ainoi). See Apain below. When identified in a manuscript simply as Pr or Id, the abbreviation Ap is given in parentheses:
Apostich/aposticha for lauds (to distinguish aposticha for Lauds from aposticha for Vespers).
Apodeipnon, in superscript, a qualifier in descriptions of canons, doxastika, etc. which occur in the akolouthies for apodeipnon.
Doxastikon. In the specific identification of a text, the simple D designates that the ms text in question corresponds to the doxastikon in the corresponding place in the standard. If the doxastikon in the manuscript occurs in the standard in a different part of the same akolouthia, reference to the doxastikon in the standard is made using one of the following qualifiers.
Doxastikon associated with the aposticha (i.e., following the Doxa or Doxa kai nun which follow aposticha).
Doxastikon for the feast (doxastikon tes heortes either prefestal (proheortion) or postfestal (metheortion) which follows the Doxa kai nun instead of the usual theotokion, or the Doxa sung separately from the Kai nun.
Doxastikon for the Doxa following a kathisma (e.g., any of the kathismata at the beginning of Orthros). See KthA, KthB, KthC, and KthPOL, below.
DKth-Kan (3')
Doxastikon for the doxa following the kathisma after the third ode of the canon. The qualifier (3') means canon ode 3.
Doxastikon for the Doxa following stichera (e.g., eis toos ainous, or following stichera prosomoia in Vespers). Used when the simple designation D would be ambiguous.
Doxastikon for the Doxa following Stichhra tew Oktoechou
Doxastikon for the Doxa following Aposticha tes Oktoechou
ekd / ~ekd
Edition/variant form of edition (i.e., the akolouthia or text in question or a variant form of it, respectively, is found in the standard edition (see below, section 4).
Explanations of the variations may follow in parentheses. If no explanations follow, then the tilde (~) simply indicates that the ms text exhibits textual variants from the edition.
Festal heortion. in superscript, qualifes texts such as doxastika (Dheor, kathismata (Kthheorand stichera prosomoia (SttPr-heor to indicate that the text in question is dedicated to the feast being celebrated.
Theotokion Not to be confused with the numeral 9 (theta with stroke for greek numeral indicator) which often occurs referring to the ninth ode of a canon.
Idiomelon, sticheron idiomelon
Idiomelon or Idiomela sung at the end of Vespers as Aposticha
K / K1,K2
Kontakion / first, second kontakion
Kontakion plus Oikos as a set Used when, for example, two sets are given one after the other in a manuscript being described or in the standard, or when the set is identified by reference to the standard)
Canon. Refers always to the canon(s) for Orthros unless otherwise specified (e.g., Apodeip Kan or KanApodeip)
See KthOrthr below.
The kathisma following the third ode of the canon in orthros; sometimes identified as orthr kan (3') kth.
One of the kathismata at the beginning of orthros (i.e., following the first, second, or third stichologion or the polyeleon (distinguished as Kth1', Kth2', Kth3' or Kthpol); sometimes identified as Orthr Kth1', Orthr Kth2', etc.
See Kthorthr above
Kathisma proheortion, i.e., kathisma whose subject relates to a feast and which is performed during the pre-festal period.
Set of texts occurring in festal seasons at the beginning of Orthros and consisting of a Kathisma, a Doxa and a Doxa Proheortion. Cf. Kth-Th, below.
The set of texts consisting of a kathisma and a theotokion occurring at the beginning of Orthros following the first, second or third stichologion or the Polyelyon. Occasionally a doxastikon is also included following the Kth. During festal seasons, a Dheor replaces the theotokion. When specific descriptions are given, theotokia are not described (in keeping with the basic principle regarding theotokia). Thus it will be understood that specific descriptions refer to the Kathisma, not the Theotokion. When a doxastikon also occurs and requires a specific description, it is distinguished from the Kathisma by the mnemonic abbreviation, Dkth as in the following example:
(Kai nun) The festal doxastikon (doxastikon tes heortes) either prefestal (proheortion) or postfestal (metheortion) which follows the Kai nun when the Kai nun is sung separately from the Doxa.
The KN associated with the stichera prosomoia in Ainoi or vespers.
Mnemh, i.e., commemorative notice of the saint or event of the day, occurring after the sixth ode of the canon in Orthros. In these descriptions Mn indicates a simple notice without any stichoi or synaxarion for the saint or event in question.
Mr / mr
Martyr. In superscript: martyrikon or martyrika, as in Stmr, the stichera martyrika found in the Paraklitiki.
O/O1 /O2
Oikos / first oikos / second oikos (superscript numbers are given when more than one occurs)
omoios/omoion (rubric indicating that a hymnic text is composed in the same mode and sung to the same hirmos as the preceding text.
Prosomoion. For the hesperia only, may represent a set of Sttpr (q.v.), in accordance with the terminology used in the manuscript.
Stichera prosomoia sung at Lauds ( Ainoi)
Stichera prosomoia sung as aposticha (q.v.)
Prokeimenon. in superscript: identifies stichera for the prokeimenon
Sticheron anastasimon
Sticheron prosomoion.
Sticheron idiomelon (also abbreviated simply Id).
A set of stichera idiomela sung in vespers "eis to kyrie ekekraxa" (cf Stichera prosomoia, below).
A set of stichera prosomoia such as those comprising the Hesperia sung at Vespers "eis to kyrie ekekraxa" and dedicated to the saint of the day or the festal occasion. The number of stichera in the set is given following identification of the first sticheron in the set whenever the set differs from the standard edition. The same sets may be sung in other contexts, for example, as in Phil. cod. 91, whose Hesperia (Stpr) for June 24 occur in the edition in Lauds for the same date, and may be described in either of the two following ways: When the text or sequence of individual stichera in the set differs from those in the edition, they are referred to in the specific description as 1', 2', 3', or ekd 1',2',3'. Specific descriptions of individual stichera are separated by /.
stichos/stichoi, for example, those for the saint or festal event of the day occurring after the sixth ode of the canon(s) for Orthros. These stichoi may occur with or without a following synaxarion for the saint or event, but in the descriptions of akolouthies, stxx designates stichoi which occur alone, without any synaxarion following them.
synaxarion/synaxaria (hagiological synaxaria following the sixth ode of the canon(s) for Orthros). The abbreviation is followed by identification of the saint or occasion commemorated, and identification of the text whenever the ms differs from the edition in either of these respects. Thus, if the ms agrees with respect to the saint or occasion but gives a different text, the text alone is identified by citing incipits or bibliographical references.)
When possible, these are identified by reference to the standard edition of the Menaion or Dukakis, Megas Synaxaristis (Meg.Syn.), by numbers corresponding to their sequence in the edition (Syn1, Meg.Syn.2, etc.). These "synaxaria" are designated as prose synaxaria, stichoi, or simple memorials by the reference to the standard edition of the menaion or to Meg.Syn. Alternatively, they may be identified by BHG reference numbers, or by citing the ms itself. Texts described in the last manner are prose synaxaria or prose synaxaria with stichoi unless specified in the description as stichoi (stchch) or simple memorials (mneme).
Stavrotheotokion dogmatikon
Troparion. In some manuscripts troparion is used regularly to designate the apolytikion.
Troparion as a non-specific term for a hymn whose generic identification is not indicated in the manuscripts by rubrics.
Hypomnema/hypomnemata (alternate term in some mss for synaxaria)
Manuscript. Specifies that the reference is to the manuscript as opposed to the edition (ekd).
Ode (ode), in superscript.
Octoechos (in superscript.
... ]+ ...
Indicates that the text preceding this symbol is followed by another which does not occur in the standard (see below, section 4).

Principles of Use of the above abbreviations.


The abbreviations for genera of liturgical texts are used without periods, like the abbreviations listed above.


Qualifiers are given in superscript in lower case greek letters: Stpr(sticheron prosomoion). Compound superscripted qualifiers are hyphenated: Sttpr-ain(a set of stichera prosomoia for lauds). Alternatively, particularly complex descriptions may be described by a series of abbreviations for the sake of clarity:

ApStid Aposticha Stichera Idiomela, as in [[paragraph]]kd 1 Jan, 10 Jan, etc.

Kan (3') introduces descriptions of kathismata or other texts which follow the third ode of the canon in orthros; similarly Kan (6') and Kan (9'). Also (in superscript) qualifies the same texts to distinguish them from others generically the same (e.g., other kathismata): KthKAN(3').

Singular and Plural

Mnemonic abbreviations are given in the singular form even when more than one such text occurs in the manuscript (3 Kth, not 3 Kthth). Plural forms of abbveviations (such as Stt) are used only to identify a fixed set of texts. Thus Stt identifies a set of stichera, such as the "hesperia" sung at Vespers eiw to Kyrie ekekraxa, as opposed to a single sticheron (St) or a group of individual stichera (3 Stid).

Number of Stichera in a Set

The number of stichera in the set is either stated in parentheses (3 St) at the end of the specific description, or implied by reference to the standard. When such sets are identified by incipits, only the incipit of the first sticheron in the set is cited. When the set of stichera is not so fixed (like some of the sets sung, for example, at a[[daggerdbl]]noi in some akolouthies) the stichera are individually identified, set apart by slashes (/), and are introduced by the standard abbreviation in the singular preceded by the number of stichera:

3 St mode a: .... / .... / ....:

Specification of the Section of a Service Being Referenced

Unless otherwise specified, identifications of texts by reference to the standard edition always refer to the same service and the same major division of the service being described. I.e., if the service for vespers in a manuscript is being described, then D refers to the doxastikon for vespers in the edition, as distinct from a doxastikon, for example, given in the edition for lauds (Ainoi) or the Liti service (Liti).

Identification of Complex and Multiple Texts (e.g., Canons, Hesperia)

For the purpose of identifying internal, subordinate parts of complex texts, the secondary level is represented by lower case Greek numerals, and the tertiary level by arabic numerals immediately following. Thus, individual odes of canons, or the individual stichera of the sets of hesperia (stichera prosomoia) are identified by lower case Greek numerals (as odes are in the standard edition), while individual troparia in the odes are identified by arabic numerals immediately following. When multiple texts occur, they are identified by superscripted arabic numerals. (In the examples below, Greek numerals are represented by arabic numerals with the apostrophe)

Kan2 3'4 Second canon, ode 3, troparion 4

Kan3 4'Y Third canon, ode 4, theotokion

Pr2 4' Second set of prosomoia (hesperia), troparion 4

Similarly, complex texts such as canons or sets of hesperia, when more than one occurs in the edition, are frequently identified by reference to the edition with superscripted arabic numerals.

Pr. ekd2 The set of prosomoia (Hesperia) in the ms = the second set of hesperia in the edition.

Representation of Manuscript Terminology in the Catalog Description.

The liturgical terminology of the manuscript itself for generic identification of texts is used where ever possible, and will appear to the left of the colon in the description. In some cases this means that archaic terms will be given in the ms description; in other cases, the same texts may be construed diferently in the manuscript than in the edition:

Liti. 3 Id: ekd.1-

2,D or

Liti. 3 Id: ~ekd. (Id1-2, D)

In the above example, the texts identified in the manuscript as 3 idiomela, are identified as 2 idiomela and a doxastikon in the edition.

4. Recapitulation of General Principles of Description of Liturgical Manuscripts

Presence and Identification of Texts

The fundamental principle of description is that the PRESENCE of an akolouthia in a codex and the PRESENCE of all the individual texts included in that akolouthia are always indicated, but the IDENTIFICATIONS of akolouthies and their component texts are given only when they differ from the standard edition.

The presence of a text is indicated by a mnemonic abbreviation indicating its generic identification

A manuscript text not found in the standard edition is identified specifically, like texts in other kinds of codices, by its incipit or by reference to another edition or catalogue of liturgical texts. It may also be identified by reference to a similar manuscript which has been fully described in this catalog.

The specific identification, when needed, is preceded by a colon which separates it from the generic description.

Agreement with the Standard Edition: The abbreviation, ekd.

The absence of specific identifications for the contents of an akolouthia or a major division of an akolouthia (such as the service for Lauds, Ainoi) indicates that the akolouthies or liturgical texts in question agree exactly with the contents of the edition. Alternatively, agreement with the edition may be indicated by a colon and the abbreviation, ekd.

The abbreviation [[paragraph]]kd is also used to identify individual texts, but implying nothing about textual variation (see the list of abbreviations, above).

Similarity to the Standard Edition: The abbreviation ~ekd.

When an akolouthia or a major subdivision of an akolouthia in a manuscript agrees with the standard edition with only a few exceptions, the basic similarity is indicated by the abbreviation, ~ekd, (without indicating the presence of each individual text), after which the points of divergence from the edition are specified in parentheses or square brackets, as follows:

omissions are listed in square brackets and introduced with a minus sign:

Orthr: ~ekd [-Kan11' 4, 1'Th], [-kan24'3: Ischysas].

Attributions of authorship not in the standard are identified in parentheses:

Orthr: ~ekd (Kan: Ioseph);

Variations in generic identification are described by the method commonly used in collations, i.e., by identifying the text as found in the standard edition, followed by the square bracket ( ] ) and the text found in the manuscript:

Hesp: ~ekd (DKNap] Dap mode a .....; KNom .....)

Additions in the ms are described similarly by citing the preceding text followed by the square bracket with a plus sign ( ]+ ) and the added text:

Orthr: ~ekd (Kthkan (3') ]+ K mode d: .....: O:.....)

As in the first example above, brief incipits are provided when needed to eliminate ambiguity in the reference to the standard edition.

In descriptions of individual texts, the form ~ekd indicates that the text exhibits significant textual variations from the version in the edition.

5. Recapitulation of Detailed Principles of Description

Identification of Akolouthies.

The headings (titles) of the akolouthies in regular liturgical books like the Menaia, Triodion, Pentecostarion, etc. (i.e., the occasion or saint being celebrated) are not reproduced unless the liturgical calendar of commemorations in the manuscript differs at this point from that of the edition. No attempt is made to preserve the exact wording of these manuscript headings, but significant variations in identifications of saints and occasions celebrated may be noted.

Cross Referencing Akolouthies by Dates.

When menological akolouthies in manuscripts occur under dates different from the standard edition, the ms akolouthia is identified simply by reference to the date on which it occurs in the edition, with an abbreviated reference: ekd. 14 Apr. The entire akolouthia is presumed to correspond to the standard edition for that date except as otherwise specified (see below).

Identification of Authors.

Authors' names are always given in boldface as in descriptions of texts in other types of manuscripts. Except for abbreviated descriptions of complete akolouthies or sections of akolouthies as described above, attributions of authorship in a manuscript are recorded, even if the text is identical with that in the edition and would not otherwise be described. Example:

2 Kan: (1) Ioseph, (2) Andreas Kretes, Agalliastho he ktisis pneumatikos semeron te anastasei gar Christou

In the preceding example, although the first canon corresponds to the edition and so is not described, the ms attribution of the canon to the hymnographer ÉIvsÆf is still recorded.

Omissions of texts.

Omissions in a manuscript of texts or segments of an akolouthia found in the edition may be indicated in the description, even though technically redundant, whenever it is necessary to avoid ambiguity or potential confusion. Such omissions are given in square brackets with a minus sign preceding the description of the omitted text(s):

[- MikrHesp].

[- Kthpol]

Single canons, kathismata, synaxaria, aposticha, idiomela, etc.

If only one such text is found in the codex in a particular service (one canon, or one idiomelon, etc.), a simple abbreviation (Kan or Id) suffices for both generic and specirfic description. If no further specification is given, the canon or idiomelon in question is identical with that in the edition; if the edition has two or more, then the text in the codex is identical with the first. To avoid ambiguity, however, the identification may be specified by the description: ekd1 .

Multiple canons, kathismata, synaxaria, aposticha, idiomela, etc.

The total number of such texts in the codex in a particular service, if more than one, is indicated before the abbreviation, for example, 2 Kan or 6 Id. If no further specification is given, both the identification and the sequence of the texts in question correspond to the edition. If there are differences of sequence and identification, only those which differ from the edition are described, as follows:

6 Id: (4) Deute ton piston to systema, (6) ekd. 7.

In this example (Phil. cod. 128, Menaion, April 23), the first 3 idiomela are the first three in the edition, the fourth is different, and thus identified by its incipit, the 5th is identical with the 5th one in the edition, and the sixth one is identical with the 7th one in the edition. (The sequential number of texts in the edition is indicated by superscript numbers.) In other words, the sixth idiomelon in the edition is missing from the manuscript, and the fourth one is different.

Texts Associated with Canons

Those texts inserted in the canons after the 3rd, 6th and 9th odes (kathisma, kontakion, oikos, synaxarion, etc.) are described following the description of the canon(s). The position of these inserted texts in the akolouthia is indicated by a preceding designation in parentheses of the ode which they follow: (3'), (6'), (9').

Special Analytical Information about Texts.

In some cases, further specification regarding structural or conceptual relations among texts are provided in parentheses following the generic identification, as in the following example of a third canon added at the end of the akolouthia for April 23 in Phil. cod. 128:

Kan (tes heortes): hyper helion ezetrapsen he mneme sou.

In this case, the canon is specified in the manuscript as a canon for the feast. Its location (out of the usual order) is indicated by the sequence of the description; thus, the description cited above follows the description of the aposticha eis tous ainous, corresponding to its place in the manuscript.

[1] For this purpose, I collated my own copies of the Phos editions against the Rome and Venice editions cited above, noting all points of variance in the margins of my Phos editions, which were then used in preparing this catalog.
Created by Robert W. Allison
Dept. of Philosophy & Religion, and
Program of Classical and Medieval Studies
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine 04240

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Last Updated: February 14, 2000