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The Menaion (Greek: Μηναίον; Slavonic: Минея/Minéya; "of the month") refers to the annual fixed cycle of services in the Orthodox Church. Commemorations in the Menaion are tied to the day of the calendar year.

Since 1921, there have been predominantly two calendars in use within the Orthodox Church: the Julian Calendar and the Revised Julian Calendar. (Few churches use the Gregorian Calendar.) At the current time there is a thirteen day difference between the two calendars. This means that those churches which use the New Calendar (Revised Julian) will celebrate the feasts on the fixed cycle thirteen days before those who follow the Old Calendar. The other major annual cycle, the Paschal cycle is the same for both Old and New Calendar Churches, so all will celebrate Pascha (Easter) on the same day.

The full Menaion

Slavonic: Минея месячная. The liturgical texts for celebrations on the Menaion are contained in twelve volumes called menaia. Each menaion will contain the services for an entire month. The liturgical year for Eastern Orthodox Christians begins in September, so the Menaion for September is the first volume of the set.

The menaion contains the largest collection of liturgical texts that are used in the Eastern Church, and is a very important component of the liturgical books owned by a parish. Outside of the Sundays of Great Lent, Holy Week, Bright Week, and the Sundays of the Pentecostarion, texts from the menaion are used in every one of the Divine Services, with the exception of the Midnight Office.

There are currently two editions of the full Menaion available in English:

  • The Menaion of the Orthodox Church, translated by Br. Isaac E. Lambertsen, and published by St. John of Kronstadt Press. This edition reflects the Slavonic Menaion, but contains some services from the Greek Menaion. This was the first complete translation of the Menaion in English.
  • The Menaion, translated and published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery. This edition reflects the Greek Menaion, but contains some services from the Slavonic Menaion.

General Menaion

There is another volume called the General Menaion (Slavonic: Минея общая) which contains services for each type of celebration (Apostles, Martyrs, etc.) with blank spaces for the name of the saint being celebrated. When a parish is not able to afford a complete set of menaia (as often happens in mission situations), or if they do not have the texts for a particular saint they wish to commemorate, it is normal to use the General Menaion to fill in for those services which are missing.

There are currently no editions of the General Menaion in print in English. However, there are several versions available online (linked below).

Festal Menaion

There is also what is called the Festal Menaion (Slavonic: Минея праздничная) which contains the texts for those Great Feasts of the Lord or the Theotokos which fall on the fixed cycle.

The Festal Menaion was translated into English by Bishop Kallistos (Ware) and Mother Mary, and originally published by Faber & Faber (subsequently reprinted by St. Tikhon Orthodox Seminary Press). This edition is based on the Greek Menaion, but attempts to note major differences with the Slavonic texts, and often provides alternative texts and rubrics accordingly.


External links