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PREFACE.


THE Orthodox Eastern Church undoubtedly possesses the most abundant hymnology for her services. Special entire services date their origin as far back as the fourth if not the third century. But the greatest impetus to their production was given by the sweet melodies of St. John of Damascus (a substantial part of the Octoechos). The rich harvest of about two centuries' work appears in the shape of 12 books, one Menaion for each month, with at least one service for every day. At the time when everything had to be copied by hand, such a wealth could of course be found in large monasteries only; almost from the beginning therefore a want was felt and supplied later on by a book, of which the translation is now offered and which had and has to be used, even where the Menaia are found, in cases e.g. of the newly canonized saints until special services are composed in their honour.

The present editions of the Greek Anthologion and of the Menaia, under the title Anonymoi, viz., in those parts which exactly correspond to the Slavonic General Menaion, contain only the Stichera for " Lord, I have cried," and the Canons; but the style, the disposition of the words in sentences, even the language itself, do not leave the slightest doubt in the translator's mind that the fuller Slavonian Book is only a translation from Greek manuscripts, not an independent composition. The absence of the originals has made the translator's work doubly more difficult and anxious, on account of mostly fruitless search, only occasionally rewarded with a Sticheron here and Troparion there; but he sincerely trusts that the present work is also free from such blunders as those made by an English translator of other Liturgical Books, who, a formidable List of Books supposed to have been consulted notwithstanding, had e. g. empowered an arch-priest to ordain, called a scribe a martyr whose countenance and body was branded with hot iron, and dwindled down the number of martyrs from twenty thousand to a mere bagatelle of two thousand (not knowing the Slavonian word "tma" = 10,000).

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