A Comparison of Selections of the Octoechos
in the Russian Old and New Rites

by Nikita Simmons, Woodburn, Oregon, July 2005

1) A Comparison of the Matins Resurrectional Gospel Cycle

a) The 11 Resurrectional Gospels: These are the same in the Old and New Rites, including the annual sequence of the cycles.

b and c) The Exaposteilaria and Theotokia: The Exaposteilaria are the same in both the Old and New Rites, however the Theotokia are in a different pairing:

Theotokion 1: completely different (the Old and New Rites each have a unique text)
Theotokion 2: this is used in the New Rite as Theotokion 3
Theotokion 3: completely different
Theotokion 4: completely different
Theotokion 5: this is used in the New Rite as Theotokion 6
Theotokion 6: completely different
Theotokion 7: this is used in the New Rite as Theotokion 5
Theotokion 8: completely different
Theotokion 9: this is used in the New Rite as Theotokion 10
Theotokion 10: this is used in the New Rite as Theotokion 9
Theotokion 11: completely different

d) The Gospel Stichera: these are all the same.

Note: The texts of all these hymns are frequently quite different between the Old and New Rites, even in corresponding texts. This is the result of re-translating the texts entirely, instead of comparing and "correcting" the existing Old Rite texts. The Old Rite texts are generally more direct and clearer in meaning, preserving older, more "pure" Slavonic word forms, while the New Rite texts attempt to express the same ideas with an artificial "high literary style" of Slavonic and a different grammatical syntax.

Musically speaking, the *older* Old Rite chant books (in Types C and B neumatic notation) provide melodies for all 11 Exaposteilaria and Theotokia, but these would only be used at the discretion of the Ecclesiarch, since they are traditionally read. These settings dropped out of the repertoir of the *later* Old Rite chant books (Type A notation), on which the New Rite Synodal books are based. The melody used is the same as the melody for all the festal Exaposteilaria, in which each text uses the same musical motif three times.

The Gospel Stichera are the only musical selections of this cycle that have been retained in the modern form of Znamenny Chant (Type A notation and in the Synodal chant books), although some of the more complex melismatic passages have been eliminated from these settings. The older Type B and C notations contain not only the standard Znamenny melodies, but also some lengthy compositions by members of the Moscow singing schools in the mid-1500s (under Tsar Ivan IV's patronage); these are done in a style of composition called "Great Chant" which is quite melismatic.

2) A Comparison of the Sunday Matins Sessional Hymns (Sedalny)

a) Tone 1: (information coming soon)