Changes to the Divine Liturgy 2016

The Holy Eparchial Synod of our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, with the approval of the Holy Ecumenical Patriarchate, has recently completed and published a new Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in both Greek and English. This new translation also includes changes to the Liturgy that will impact the responses during the liturgy offered by chanters and choirs. To assist the parishes of our Archdiocese with the transition in the use of the newly approved Divine Liturgy, the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians has outlined the changes. Each choir director and chanter should work with their parish priest and proceed with the implementation as directed.

  1. Κύριε Ελέησον is not to be translated into English. Lord Have Mercy will not be used as a response.
  2. Θεοτόκος is not to be translated into English.
  3. Λόγος is not translated into English.
  4. At Αντιλαβού, σωσον, ελέησον (Help us, save us…), the Υπέρ Αγία Θεοτόκε σωσον ημας (Most Holy Theotokos save us) intonation is eliminated completely.
  5. There is a Κύριε Ελέησον after …τη ση χάριτι (…by Your grace), then Σοι, Κυριε (To You, O Lord).
  6. As with the 1st and 2nd Antiphons, there are verses chanted before the 3rd Antiphon, which is the Απολυτίκιον (Dismissal Hymn) at the Small Entrance.
  7. The choir’s/chanter’s repeat of the priest’s Δύναμις (With more power) is eliminated from Άγιος ο Θεός (Holy God…) and in all substitutions of the Τρισάγιον (Thrice Holy) hymn.
  8. There is an optional Litany of Fervent Supplication after the reading of the Holy Gospel and before the Great Entrance. Check with your priest.
  9. At the conclusion of the Cherubic Hymn, Αλληλούια is sung 3 times.
  10. After the priest says, Αγαπήσωμεν αλλήλους…, (Let us love one another…), the correct response is, Πατέρα, Υιόν και Άγιον Πνεύμα… (Father, Son and Holy Spirit…) I will love you… (Αγαπήσω σε…) is said privately in the altar by the clergy.
  11. The translation for Παράσχου, Κύριε is Grant this, O Lord.
  12. The Communion Hymn begins with Αινείτε and ends with Αλληλούια. This complete phrase is then repeated 3 times (or more until the priest is ready with Holy Communion).
  13. After Holy Communion when the priest says, Πάντοτε, νυν και αει…(Now and forever…) and after the Αμήν (Amen), there is an optional hymn, Πληρωθήτε το στόμα ημών αινέσεως… (Let our mouths be filled with Your praise…). Check with your priest.
  14.  At the Dismissal of the Liturgy before the final blessing, Κύριε Ελέησον (3x), Πάτερ Άγιε, ευλόγισον, is eliminated completely. The correct response is a single Κύριε Ελέησον.
  15. Αλληλούια is not to be translated into English.

The Archdiocese is publishing a new hymnal with the text and hymns in Greek and English which will be available this Fall. The music for the hymnal has been arranged by the “Oloi Mazi” team of the National Forum based on the familiar melodies. (This is a new version of the green Ernie Villas pew book of the Liturgy which was published in the 70’s.) This hymnal incorporates the new English translation and will include the eight Αναστάσιμα Απολυτίκια (Resurrectional Dismissal Hymns) as well as other often sung hymns

At this time, only a few composers/arrangers have published music with the official English translation. In time, many of our composers will use the new “sira” and English translation of the Divine Liturgy and publish new music. To date, Dean Limberakis and Christopher Kypros have published new music. Anna Gallos’s “Opus II” and Kevin Lawrence’s work will be available soon. Other composers and arrangers are invited and encouraged to harmonize the approved texts and to develop their own arrangements as long as the text is not altered.

The National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians has published a position paper that addresses the insertion of the new text in existing published music for the Divine Liturgy. Please note that it is not permitted to insert English words into the music of the older “legacy” liturgies unless approved by the composer. Official English translations of some of our legacy composers (Vrionides, Anastassiou, Roubanis, etc.) will be professionally prepared under the guidance of the National Forum and will become available in time.