by Nikita Simmons, October 2007
I wish to make a plea for assistance in editing this project; anyone may participate. Please download the complete service (with supplementary materials) for the Pre-Nikonian Vigil-rank Feast of the Protection (Pokrov) of the Theotokos, which is in PDF format. I've made notes (below) relevant to each instance where I thought the text might need some clarification, and I welcome your input.
I have marked up the text a bit, just to let you know which texts are not in the printed edition. I used the 1912 edition of the pre-Nikonian Prazdnichnaia Mineia, printed by the Preobrazhenskii Bogodelnyi Dom in Moscow (the headquarters for the Pomortsy). I re-typeset the complete text, and then added the extra materials from the manuscript. Words in one bracket with an asterisk [*---] are variant readings from the manuscript. Words in one bracket alone are completed texts, where the printed edition only gives the opening line (such as the Hiermoi of the canon), and a few places where I have a question about the text from the manuscript. All portions included in double brackets [[---]] are additional materials that are unique to the manuscript; there are several of these items in addition to the mysterious "second canon".
The manuscript is found in a private collection in Woodburn, Oregon. It came from the Old Believers that had been living in Turkey (in the Lake Manyas region) from sometime in the late 1700s up until 1961, and was brought to the United States in the wave of Old Believer migration. Due to its content, I feel that it is a genuine Byzantine composition, not a Russian or a specifically Old Believer work (although, interestingly, the first Canon does mention Russia). If I were to venture a hypothesis regarding its provenance, I would guess that it is an authentic early Byzantine Canon that was translated into Slavonic and existed only in manuscript form. Many services and prayers have been composed over the centuries, and for one reason or another have not been included in the printed editions of the Menaion, but there is no reason to conclude that this is a later or spurious composition. But it should also be acknowledged that this commemoration and service has a radically different history within the Church of Greece. Ah, but this is the subject of a more thorough discussion, and would make a good article in itself.
Please note that there are lots of minor problems with the manuscript text, including awkward phrasing (caused by misplaced or too numerous commas), and confused grammar (such as switched "est'" and "iat'", and confused nominative and vocative forms). The word "Omophorion" is inconsistently spelled "omfor" and "amfor"; I personally like the inconsistency because it is "colourful". Another inconsistently spelled word is "Ilector" and "Alector".
Page 1: The manuscript begins with a more lengthy and descriptive title for the commemoration. -- Further down on the page is a variant reading from the manuscript.
Page 2: There are two variant readings. The second one is a grammatical variant; I think the correct form should be used and the incorrect one deleted from a final edition. (No need to perpetuate mistakes.)
Page 3: The Troparion has a textual variant which should be noted because the manuscript version agrees with the form found in the pre-Nikonian Chasoslov and Chasovnik; the Menaion has a different text. -- The first sticheron on "Lord, I have cried" is notable because the manuscript is worded differently for the latter part of the text (starting at the red asterisk to the end).
Pages 6-8: The Litya has some additional stichera in the manuscript, as well as a Theotokion which is sung as an Osmoglasnik, and which is unusually lengthy. The printed edition has a Glory&Now sticheron, while the manuscript uses it as a Doxasticon, followed by the long Theotokion I just mentioned. (NOTE: I have an interesting article from Russia in PDF format - author unidentified - which surveys a number of medieval Russian manuscript versions of this service and makes note of some textual variations. This article, which unfortunately does not discuss all of the materials for Matins, places this lengthy Osmoglasnik at the end of Matins as a sticheron to be sung during the "Kissing" [veneration of the icon], and it indicates the changes from one Tone to another. It also gives witness to the validity of some of the variant hymnographic material found the Old Believer manuscript from Turkey.)
Page 11: At the beginning of Matins, the 2 Sedalny have more detailed rubrics than the printed edition. If this is a standard practice that is taken for granted, then perhaps the more detailed rubrics could be deleted from a final edition. Personally I think they are superfluous, but a less experienced reader might benefit from them. It's a coin-toss question as far as I'm concerned. (The same goes for the Sedalen on page 12, after the Velichanie.) -- After that, there is the Polieleos and Velichanie sequence, which is taken from the Psalter and expanded in the manuscript. Note that there are 3 different variant texts for the Velichanie, only one of which would actually be used (unless the choir director wanted to be eclectic and squeeze them all in somehow).
Page 12-13: The Prokeimenon and Gospel sequence are taken from the manuscript, and are supported by rubrics in the Oko Tserkovnoe (Ustav/Typikon).
Page 13: The Heirmos of the Canon only has a brief rubric in the manuscript and the printed edition; I thought it might be helpful to include the complete text, which I borrowed from the printed Octoechos. The same goes for all the other Heirmoi. -- The manuscript contains the Refrain for the Canon; again, I think this may not be necessary, but certainly it is helpful for inexperienced readers to have the text clearly indicated. I'm in favour of leaving it in.
Page 14, et alia: The Second Canon. It has its own Heirmos, but it is not used as the Katavasia.
Page 16 (very top): The manuscript has a variant reading that seems to have been made by someone after the schism, where the tsar is purposely not given the place of highest social position and respect; but this principle is not applied very much throughout the manuscript. Indeed, most references to the tsar have been left intact in the manuscript, which is slightly puzzling.
Page 17: Here we have the Kontakion ad Oikos for the Second Canon; the manuscript has a variant reading in the margin, but I think that this is an Old Believer emmendation. Up until the revolution prayers for the tsar was one of the most divisive issues among Old Believers; many were willing to include prayers for him, with varying degrees of respectful titles, but all groups refused to use the terms "blagochestivyi" or "pravoslavnyi". The term "blagovernyi" was as far as most were willing to go, because this was a polite word, but was no admission that the tsar was truly Orthodox in his beliefs or faith.
Also on page 17: The Sedalen has a Podoben designation in the manuscript, but not in the printed edition. It also has some variant readings and two additional words in the manuscript (plus a rubric for repetition).
Page 18: 2 variant readings at the bottom of the page.
Page 21: There is an unclear word in the manuscript ("odezhi"?). Could someone clarify the text for me, based on whatever you think might be the correct word?
Page 22: In the second Heirmos is another unclear word that needs clarification. Also, the last word on the page seems to be missing a vowel; what do you suggest?
Page 23: The Kontakion and Oikos both contain the word "Christ" in the manuscript version. This does not correspond with either the Old or New Rite printed versions.
Page 25: Another unclear word: I'm almost 100% certain that it's "devitsa", but I would like another opinion. I'm extremely knowledgeable of pre-Nikonian titly, but occasionally one still gives me a moment's hesitation, enough to stop me in my tracks while reading in church. If this is indeed "devitsa", then I would prefer to use the more standard abbreviation which I have suggested; less confusion that way.
Page 27-28: The endings of the troparia for the 8th Ode of the Second Canon. Should there be consistent case or grammatical endings? I have suggested what I think might be correct, but I'm perfectly willing to concede that the manuscript is right and I'm wrong. [After nearly a lifetime of reading Slavonic I still think of it as a difficult language to comprehend at times - somewhat akin to reading Shakespeare; the individual words often make sense, but the expressions and thought patterns don't always go where one expects them to go.]
Page 28: The Refrain is found in the manuscript version, as well as the Obikhod. The manuscript also includes some rubrics for singing the refrains. -- The first troparion has an additional word and a variant reading in the manuscript; the word "liudi" is possibly an Old Believer emmandation.
Page 29: The second refrain is found in both the manuscript and the Obikhod.
Page 30: At the end of the Canon there is a rubric. I think that the phrase "koegozhde kanona pripevy" might be confusing and misleading. I am in favour of omitting it. Any thoughts on this?
Pages 30-31: There are 3 extra Svetilny found only in the manuscript.
Page 32-33: There is a variant reading in the manuscript. I set it off with the more traditional variant reading (marginalia) indicators. -- The end of the 1st Hour has some more specific rubrics, but these are superfluous. -- The manuscript has an alternate method of chanting the Beatitudes, as well as instructions for the Troparion and Kontakion at the Liturgy (although this is done differently if it is a Sunday). This rubric is superfluous, but it's probably OK to retain it. -- The additional rubrics for a Temple feast is a good addition.
A request for those with experience in these matters: When you have finished editing my notes, could you please indicate all the places where we should sing emmended texts to compensate for the lack of a tsar (such as inserting "liudi" or "derzhavo" instead of "tsar"); the precise grammatical form would be very helpful for a practical edition that contemporary people could use.
Any amount of assistance in editing this text would be greatly appreciated!