Asmatikē akolouthia (Gk.: ‘chanted service’)
- Dimitri Conomos
(Gk.: ‘chanted service’)
The urban or ‘cathedral’ Office of the Byzantine rite, performed at the Great Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. In its complete form it is preserved in liturgical manuscripts copied between the 8th and the 12th centuries. The asmatikē akolouthia originally differed from the monastic Office celebrated in Palestine: the cathedral rite used music in the performance of its fixed psalms (psalms appropriate to the hour of the day) as well as responsorial chants and sung refrains; in monasteries, however, there was little or no singing, merely the verse by verse recitation of the complete Psalter throughout each week. (See Psalm §III 1..)
By the 11th century, the two traditions had gradually merged into a new, hybrid rite, although a strong element of the monastic ordo of Constantinople remained. Monasteries absorbed the fixed psalmody, ceremonial and the melodious chanting of the urban Office, while the presence of urban monks affected the shape of the cathedral rite. By ...