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The Typikon is the book of directives and rubrics that establishes in the Orthodox Christian Church the order of divine services for each day of the year. It assumes the existence of liturgical books that contain the fixed and variable parts of these services. In monastery usage, the typikon of the monastery includes both the rule of life of the community and the rule of prayer.

The liturgical books presently used by the Orthodox Church have originated either in monasteries or have been greatly influenced by monastic practices. The services of the daily cycle of worship used today in the Orthodox East reflect monastic usages and traditions, especially those of the two monastic centers that produced and developed them, the Holy Lavra of St. Savas of Jerusalem and the Monastery of Studion in Constantinople.

The liturgical tradition originating with The Typikon of St. Savas produced by the Lavra in its initial stages was influenced by the customs and practices of the monastic communities in the Near East, Egypt, Palestine, and Asia Minor. Under St. Theodore the Studion Monastery in Constantinople became the center of monastic revival and reform in the imperial city. During the times of the iconoclastic controversy the Palestinian monastic typikon came to the Constantinople monasteries. In the Studion Monastery a synthesis occurred as elements of the Cathedral Office of Constantinople were added to the Palestinian typikon. In time this Studite synthesis was further modified by Palestinian monks to produce a revised Typikon of St. Savas that remained in general use until the nineteenth century.

The difficulty of using a monastic typikon at the parish level came to a head as the nineteenth century began, and abbreviations and omissions of the services became widespread. Thus, the Ecumenical Patriarch authorized the revision of the typikon for parish use. This revision became known as Ecclesiastical Typikon according to the Style of the Great Church of Christ, and was published in 1838. This revision was further revised in the Typikon of the Great Church of Christ, published in 1888.

To meet the needs of the Slavic world translations for a Slavic typikon originated as soon as missions to the Slavic world began. With the revisions originating in the Mediterranean world coupled with the Mongol invasions the Slavic typikon lost its conformity to the that standard in the Byzantine world. This was recognized by the Church of Russia in the seventeenth century. It was this revision effort of the Slavic typikon that resulted in the Raskolnik (Old Believers) controversies under Czar Alexis and Patriarch Nikon of Moscow.

The primary differences between the liturgical practice of the Byzantine and Slavic worlds stem from their origins in the Savaite and Studite typika, respectively, along with subsequent revisions.


The Greek Archdiocese of North America has placed on the internet an extensive overview of the origins of the Paschal and Holy Week services including other Orthodox service books and discussion of the Typikon. These sites are noted under External links with another site that discusses the state of the Slavic Typikon.

External links