The Liturgical calendar of the orthodox church in Romania – a local transformation of the Byzantine tradition

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Ewa Kocój


The liturgical calendar used in the Orthodox Church in Romania dates back to the remote times of antiquity. The structure of the calendar was decisively formed in the period of Byzantium and its use was upheld by the tradition until the 20th century. The article describes the organization of the Orthodox calendar in Romania. It is divided into three cycles which designate the most significant holidays as well as customs and habits observed by the believers. The basic course is the daily cycle, which allows monks to live according to a specific rhythm determined by prayer, work and rest. It consists of seven prayers that fall at the same times of day and night. The weekly cycle includes seven days of the week starting with Sunday that is the first and at the same time the last day of the week on a symbolic level. Orthodox religion associates particular days of the week with remembering the mystery of faith, a saint or a group of saints. The liturgical week is an icon in the middle of which the Orthodox place Jesus Christ, thus it is often called a Weekly Passover. It symbolically invokes the history of salvation. The annual cycle is divided into the moveable and immoveable feasts (derived from Easter). The Orthodox Church appoints them according to the spiritual, not historical order. The spiritual order displays God’s plan to save humanity. This routine makes a full circle every year, with the same holidays placed along the course. A deliberate plan to destroy spiritual culture by communist authorities led to partial disappearance of Orthodox traditional customs or transformed them into a folk spectacle. The Communism has fallen and we can witness the resurrection of the Orthodox culture. There is a great return to the liturgical texts as well as to belles lettres created in the Byzantine time. Beside them, the old beliefs, habits and rituals molded in the Byzantine Christianity are slowly brought back to life.


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Kocój, E. (2012). The Liturgical calendar of the orthodox church in Romania – a local transformation of the Byzantine tradition. Balcanica Posnaniensia. Acta Et Studia, 19, 95-110.