Friday, April 15, 2005

Psalmody

Reading through the monastic spirituality self-study,
I came to the chapter on psalmody.

Apparently, what the monks of Scetis did was to chant
twelve psalms at Vespers (6 pm) and twelve psalms at
Matins (2 am?).

After each psalm was chanted, they would prostrate
themselves, and stand up to prayer. Then, on to the
next psalm.

The psalms were chanted out loud and not considered
prayer per se, but rather a sort of auditory "lectio
divina" (for benefit of illiterate monks?).

Anyway, on top of this monks were to chant psalms to
themselves in the course of their labor during the day
as well.

Evagrius and Macarius the Great did "100 prayers" per
day, which would indicate 100 psalms as well, and was
calculated to take (wow) 20 hours.

How to adopt this to the needs of time-constrained
laymen with all sorts of intrusions, I don't know.

I also could not find which specific psalms they used.
There was a set for Vespers ("lucernal?") and another
set for what they called "Vigil" (basically waiting
for the sun to come up). They didn't pick 'em at random.

6 Comments:

Blogger atgnatus said...

The Psalms make up part of the Orthodox daily prayers. The Psalms are indicated here http://goarch.org/en/chapel/liturgical_texts/daily_prayers.asp

Where did I read that the Fathers thought that of the Scripture, the Psalms should be learnt last and under the guidance of an Elder.

10:24 PM  
Blogger xofezura said...

That's a false memory, atgnatus.

New monks who walked in the door were put to work chanting psalms on day one. They would only get fragments of other scripture at the synaxis, but at least under the Rule of Saint Benedict, they would chant all the psalms every week.

Many monks were illiterate and never did "read scripture", but memorized the psalms through rote.

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