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“The Rite at Cockrow” in Old Russian Tradition

Bp. Mstislav (Dyachina), Fr. Mikhail S. Zheltov


The article deals with an office found in the Old Russian liturgical tradition under the curious title The Rite at Cockrow or The Cockrow Prayers. The article contains a survey of existing scholarly studies of this office, the first publication of its full text based on a 14th-century codex, State Historical Museum (Moscow), Synodal collection, 325, and an analysis of the structure of this office. The authors come to a conclusion that the basic structure of The Rite at Cockrow consists of some introductory prayer texts, a couple of triadika troparia, and a morning prayer (or two or three morning prayers). This basic structure was intended for a private devotion of a monk in his cell; a variation of this structure is still found in the printed editions of the Horologion under the title “When one wakes up...” The core text of The Rite at Cockrow could be expanded by additional prayers, elements of ecclesiastical offices (of matins, probably also of compline), and a specific combination of psalms and prayers intended for private reading while a monk proceeds from his cell to a church. The authors managed to find the direct prototypes of both the basic structure and the ordinances from The Rite at Cockrow in the Byzantine sources. One of such sources is the Hypotyposis of Nicetas Stethatos, which describes private ascetic daily practices of the Studite monks in Constantinople. The Rite at Cockrow was well accepted by the Old Russian practice, since some specific prayers and hymns from this rite are still used even today, being included into the ordo of “Morning Prayers” according to the late printed editions of Russian Molitvoslov (Prayer-Book) and Kanonnik (Book of [hymnographical] Canons).


ascetic practice; Byzantine monasticism; divine office; Horologion; Liturgical studies; Old Russian worship; prayer; Prayer-Book; prayer rule; Studite Typicon


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