Music for the Great Fast

The Great Fast is our annual preparation for the feast of Pascha. A wide range of services are celebrated during this season; this article describes the materials available from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute to help you in leading the services.

A weekly recorded podcast, Chant Notes, provides an overview of each week’s services, with excepts and background information. You can find current episodes on our blog page.

Sundays in the Great Fast

Vespers and Matins

Propers for Vespers and Matins for each Sunday can be found on the Liturgical calendar; the current month can also be found in the sidebar on the home page and blog. These propers are meant to be used with the MCI Sunday Vespers and Sunday Matins books.

Divine Liturgy

On the Sundays of the Great Fast, we celebrate the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, with its more complicated music for the Anaphora.

The proper hymns for each Sunday Divine Liturgy in the Great Fast can be found in the Liturgical calendar.  Of especial note:

  • The first Sunday of the Fast, February 14, is also the feast of the falling asleep of St. Cyril, apostle to the Slavs.
  • For the second Sunday of the Fast, there is a second set of Divine Liturgy propers with hymns for St. Gregory Palamas, who is celebrated on this day in some calendars.

With the exception of the hymns for Saint Cyril and Gregory, all the proper music for these Sundays can be found on the Recordings page, under “English / Divine Liturgies / Moveable feasts.”

Sunday afternoon Vespers

The MCI has two books for this service: a longer one, containing everything except the hymns for the saint of the day, and a shorter one with just the central part of the service. The shorter book is used with the propers on the liturgical calendar labelled, “Sunday evening Vespers”; the longer book is used with the propers labelled “saints only”.

See the article Singing Sunday Evening Vespers during the Great Fast for a description of the service and how to lead it, with embedded recordings. You can also listen to:

Weekdays in the Great Fast

For Lenten weekdays, the MCI has prepared books for a variety of services, all of which can be found on the Publications page under “Publications for the Great Fast.”

The principal weekday service in our church is the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.

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