Holy Services according to the Typicon of 1122


Apart from the “Canonarion of Jerusalem” (Typikon) of the 7th century and the “Feast Calendar of Christian antiquity Jerusalem”, there happens to be another very important ancient Patriarchal Typikon of the Church of the Resurrection which sets the order of the services of Palm Sunday, the Holy Week and the Bright Week, which are extracts of the Annual Typikon. This Liturgical artifact is preserved in a parchment, which is kept in the central Library of the Holy Sepulchre with number 431, and had been published by A.P.Keramea with the title “Typikon of the Church of Jerusalem. Provisions of the church services of the Holy Passion Week of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the ancient custom in Jerusalem, namely in the Church of the Resurrection..” The beginning is missing and the end is written in the following manner: “This manuscript was bound together by order of pious George, master and judge of the Holy City and of Salessious, a great sacristan of the Holy Resurrection of Christ our God, and was given by him to the Holy Church of Resurrection of Christ our God for the remission of his sins. It was written and edited by the hand of Basil of the Holy City, writer and not in the least unknown to the Holy Church of the Resurrection of God in the Holy City of Jerusalem. This manuscript was completed in a cylinder on the 3rd hour of the2nd day, on 27th February of the year 1122 A.D. I therefore beseech the readers of this parchment to pray for both its writer and owner, so that we may be saved from eternal damnation. Amen. The present issue has been printed according to the order of the Holy Church of God’s Resurrection, and let no one add or delete anything from it”. According to the above, the year 1122 is considered to be the year of the writing of the Typikon, as it can also be seen from the internal index and topography of this artifact, which are dated back at an older time when many of the shrines were not destroyed by Caliph Al Hakim in 1009.

This precious artifact is of great interest to the Palestinologists. Where there is need, even approximately, they attempt to define a) the time by which it was completed and given total development and practice in the Church of Jerusalem, as this appears in the edition “Collection of Compilations of Jerusalem” by A.P.Keramea and b) when it became obsolete and for what reason.

Extensive reference on the Typikon is made by the Patriarch of Jerusalem Nikolaos I. “And in favour of our Holy God-protected Patriarch Nikolaos”, who served as a Patriarch in the years 932-947. The writing of the Typikon should therefore be attributed to the second half of the 10th century. If we consider the topography of the Holy Land, it corresponds precisely to this era.

The 1122 Typikon provides important information for the construction of Holy Churches in Jerusalem, and the consummation and the condition of the Greek and the Church manner of life during the Arab conquest. From the juxtaposition with the previous Typikon ordinances of Church services in the Church of Jerusalem becomes evident the great development that took place by preeminent Palestinian hymn writers, who prospered from the 7th to the 10th century, such as the Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronios, Andrew Archbishop of Crete, John of Damascus, Cosma Maiouma and others. According to the mentioned Typikon, the Exceptional Monks were devoted to the service of the Church of the Resurrection and performed the night vigils just like the Byzantine time. The Exceptional Monks were therefore Greek Orthodox monks and integral part of the Zion clergy men, actively participating in the church services in the Church of the Resurrection, especially during those times of the year that there was no Patriarchal Divine Liturgy. The Exceptional monks are already mentioned by Archbishop Cyril of Jerusalem in the 4th century. In that monastery which is called today Megali Panagia, the Exceptional monks reached the Holy Resurrection through the door of the Catechumens, because according to the Typikon this would have been made for all other night vigils in Golgotha and in St Constantine. The importance of the ancient Patriarchal Typikon in its fullness is immense, because it does not only prove that our Church has kept through the centuries the liturgical order that had been ordained in the Church of the Resurrection since the 4th century, but also because it enlightens in many ways the internal condition of the Church of Jerusalem during the dark ages of the Arab conquest. As a recapitulation, it is noted that the Patriarchs of Jerusalem and their devoted monks are those who represent the ‘Royal Breed of the Romans” in the Holy Land, in Palestine for their guarding, recognized by the Arab Caliphs with Omar Ibn-al Khattab’s Decree. The guards of the holy shrines perform just like in the former Byzantine period the ordained since the 4th century church services in the Greek language. They celebrate the memories of the Byzantine Emperors who founded the shrines, and as they share the same faith and same ethnicity they pray “for the strength the victory of the noble and God-protected kings against all their enemies”. They struggle in a superhuman way among indescribable deprivations and hardships to preserve the holy shrines of our faith as a precious patristic heritage. All these Patriarchs of the Church of Zion and the devoted monks strove very much for the establishment of the Christian faith and the defense of the Christians in Palestine during this time.