Robert Taft

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History


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A liturgical tradition, known as the "Byzantine rite", developed in the Orthodox patriarchate of Constantinople and its dependencies before spreading to the other Orthodox patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. The "inner history" of this liturgical revolution can be divided into five sometimes overlapping phases: the "palaeo-Byzantine period" (before Byzantium became Constantinople in 330), followed by the "imperial period", the Byzantine "Dark Ages" (from 610 to c.850), the "Stoudite period" (from c.800 to 1204), and the "neo-Sabaitic period". The ecclesial tradition of Byzantium in the period before 330, when it became Constantinople and began to realize its imperial vocation both politically and ecclesiastically, is not well understood. The liturgy seems to have been a typical late antique, Antiochene-type rite with no peculiarly "Byzantine" traits. By the sixth century, especially with the construction of Justinian's Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine rite had added new feasts, the Creed (511), and several new immortal chants.

Keywords: Byzantine rite; liturgy; palaeo-Byzantine period; imperial period; Byzantium; Dark Ages; Stoudite period; neo-Sabaitic period; chants; feasts

Article.  4991 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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