This translation of the Service of the Holy Oil has been made from the Greek text in both the Large and the Small Euchologion with constant reference to the Slavonic Trebnik. The differences between the two traditions are slight, though the Slavonic provides much fuller rubrics than the Greek. Since the full office is commonly celebrated in church on the Wednesday of Holy Week, and in some places, particularly in monasteries, on the equivalent day before Christmas, when large numbers of people are anointed, and also for whole families in their homes, plural forms are used throughout. The original, of course, supposes that the rite is being performed for a single sick person. Though it is not difficult to substitute singular forms it may be preferable in the end to have a separate text with the prayers in the singular for use in such circumstances.
The parts that would be said by a Deacon are so marked, though there may seldom be a Deacon present. According to both the Greek and Slavonic books the Epistles and Prokeimena are to be read by the Deacon, the Gospels being read by the Priests. Reading the Gospel is not the special function of the Deacon, rather the Deacon is the lowest ranking minister who is allowed to proclaim the Gospel in the Christian assembly. If reading the Gospel were the Deacons particular ministry the ordination of a deacon would take place before the Gospel, whereas in fact it takes place just before the Communion, since the Deacon is par excellence the minister of the Chalice.
There is some confusion over the Tones of the Prokeimena. The Slavonic books have the Tones in order from 1 to 7. The Greek does the same from 1 to 5, but both the 6th and 7th are given as Tone 4. This is almost certainly an error. The last one should probably be Tone 8, since Tone 7, for musical reasons, is always the poor relation. The series of Tones in the weeks of the Pentecostarion is the most obvious example. Confusion between 4 and Plagal 4 is frequent.
The only other major discrepancy is that the Slavonic gives as the Small Litany at the beginning, after Psalm 142, the one familiar from the Liturgy, whereas the current Greek text has a special set of petitions. The Large Euchologion simply says: Then Small Litany, and after it is chanted Alleluia.
The Acrostic of the Canon excludes the Theotokia of Odes 3 to 7. No attempt has been made to reproduce the Acrostic in this version.
The RSV/NRSV has been taken as the basis for the scriptural passages and citations, but account is always taken of the Churchs liturgical tradition. Where appropriate, inclusive language is used.
There is a constant play in the Greek on the words oil elaion and mercy eleos which it is not possible to reproduce in English at every occurrence.
In contemporary ecclesiastical Greek the word euchÍ frequently means blessing rather than simply prayer, which is proseuchÍ, except for The Prayer, that is, the Jesus Prayer, for which the former word is always used. The Euchologion is the Book of Blessings and the word Euchelaion means Blessing of Oil, as the Slavonic translation Eleosvjashchenie, or Sanctification of Oil, suggests. In the text of the rite I have transliterated the word phonetically as Efchelaion.
All texts and
translations on this page are copyright to
This page was last updated on 03 November 2008