Norwegian version of this page

Eastern Christian Daily Office

Kata stichon hymns in the manuscript Sinai Greek 864 (Horologion, 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. 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 onward, 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 onward, it was the dominant Daily Office of the Byzantine world.

This area includes, first, 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. Secondly, it includes 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 onward. A major focus is the exploration of the ecclesiastical milieus that practiced this so-called 'Hagiopolitan' Office in Constantinople. The group examines liturgical manuscripts such as those of the Horologion, the Psalter, the Typikon and various hymn books. 

2. 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 publication of the papers of the international symposium in Oslo in November 2019 on Byzantine stichic hymnography is in preparation. 

Published Oct. 23, 2017 1:31 PM - Last modified Feb. 10, 2022 4:28 PM