Eastern Christian Daily Office
Kata stichon hymns in the manuscript Sinai Greek 864 (9th century). Photo by Stig Frøyshov
About the group
The research group Eastern Christian Daily Office studies the daily liturgical (non-eucharistic) services of Eastern Churches. It consists of scholars of the University of Oslo as well as Nordic and international scholars. It is led by Professor Stig Frøyshov of the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, and is based there. The research group continues and expands the research group ‘Hymnography of Constantinople’, begun in 2017. Its activity includes reading groups, seminars/workshops and ongoing scholarly exchanges, as well as the development of research projects.
While in churches of Western traditions today the Daily Office is little practiced outside monasteries, in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages the Daily Office was more visible and more voluminous than the Eucharist in any community. Rather than an unusual and peripheral phenomenon, the Daily Office appeared as a central and extensive part of parish liturgy.
The research group focuses on the following areas:
1. Byzantine stichic (kata stichon: all lines have the same meter and stresses) hymnography, which was the particular research area of ‘Hymnography of Constantinople’. Byzantine hymnography forms a major element of the Daily Office (rather than of the Eucharist/Mass) of Byzantine churches. Stichic hymnography enjoyed a certain usage in the first millennium but disappeared thereafter gradually from liturgical practice. The study of this hymnographical corpus is a neglected area. The research group prepares an international symposium in Oslo in November 2019 on Byzantine stichic hymnography.
2. The Jerusalem Daily Office and its spread to other churches, including the Byzantine one. The Daily Office of the Resurrection cathedral of Jerusalem was widely observed in churches and monasteries dependent on this episcopal see. In the fifth century onwards, Caucasian churches adopted the Jerusalem Daily Office, and in the following centuries the patriarchates of Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople did the same. From the ninth-tenth century onwards, it was the dominant Daily Office of the Byzantine world.
A first major theme within this area is the early history of the Jerusalem Daily Office: the stage in which Jerusalem was the major normative center, that is, until the ninth-tenth century. A project application on the early history of the Horologion, the Book of Hours of the Jerusalem cathedral, is in preparation by Stig Frøyshov. The project will include editions of Horologion manuscripts in Armenian, Georgian, Syriac, and Slavonic, as well as a synthetic monograph. The manuscripts will be studied separately and together, as a “fluid text” (cf. New Philology) adopted to various circumstances in various peripheries.
A second major theme is the Byzantine stage of the Jerusalem Daily Office: the stage at which Constantinople was the major normative center, that is, from the ninth-tenth century onwards.