Reply To: St. Basil Liturgy

#32164
Peter George
Keymaster

Hi Natalia,

In the Greek Byzantine tradition, the Liturgy of St. Basil is done on all Sundays during Great Lent. It is also done on the Eve of Christmas, St. Basil’s Day, the Eve of Theophany, Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday. So why do we do St. Basil’s liturgy during Lent? The answer, in general, is that older practices tend to be preserved during Lent and Holy Week. As St. Basil’s liturgy is older than the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, its usage was continued during the Lenten period.

A bit of background: The Liturgy of St. Basil was the liturgy that was done on every Sunday in byzantine times, up until the 10th century or so. St. John Chrysostom’s was done on weekdays and was a bit quicker, so it became more popular. In fact, both liturgies (St. John Chrysostom’s and St. Basil’s) were distinct, but over time each rite borrowed from the other to the point where they became mostly indistinguishable, except for a few portions. Once the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom gained prominence, the liturgy of St. Basil was preserved in more liturgically conservative scenarios, most prominently, during Great Lent.

Also, to correct what you said a little earlier: Remember that the Divine Liturgy is not celebrated on the weekdays of Great Lent. Instead, the Presanctified Liturgy of St. Gregory the Dialogist is celebrated. (The only exception is for the Feast Day of the Annunciation, which is traditionally celebrated with a Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, on the eve of March 25th, looking towards the 26th.) On Saturdays of Great Lent, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is celebrated and on Sundays, that of St. Basil.