Trinity College

Sanctification of Time - Orthodox Liturgy of the Hours and Liturgical Year

Course Code: 
Last Offered: 
Fall 2019
Next Offered: 
Winter/Spring 2023

The aim of this course is to explore the way in which the church over the centuries has employed the various cycles of time — daily, weekly, and annual — to redirect our lives toward the kingdom of God, which is our ultimate goal. Just as all the major passages of our lives, from birth to death, are sanctified, so also is the daily course of life. The approach will be primarily historical, moving through the origin and development of the cycles of time in both Judaism and Christianity.

The first half of the course will focus on the daily cycle, the liturgy of the hours, which is the most primitive: Vespers, Compline, Midnight Office, Mattins, the Little Hours and Typical Psalms. The second part will focus on the annual cycles of the liturgical year, including the moveable paschal cycle, as well as the cycle of fixed feasts and commemoration of saints.

In addition to studying the historical development and structure of these services and commemorations, the course will explore their hymnography and themes from different perspectives, including theological, pastoral and literary, and deepen students’ understanding of liturgical theology and the meaning of these commemorations within the broader theological context of the church and salvation in Christ.

The focus of this course will be on the Byzantine rite as used in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, with some exploration (including through student seminars) of the liturgies of the hours and liturgical year of the Oriental Orthodox churches.

There are no prerequisites for this course. Students should have a good grounding in both Old and New Testament. Students without such a background should speak to the instructor who will provide some remedial reading prior to beginning the course.