Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What is a Polyeleos?

Q & A with Fr Job:
Question: What is a polyeleos?

Answer: The polyeleos is the most solemn part of Matins. Its name is Greek: polyeleos from polys (much) and eleos (mercy). Therefore, the word “polyeleos” translates as “much-mercy.” The polyeleos is made up of the singing of the verses of Psalm 134 (“Praise the name of the Lord, Alleluia”) and 135 (“Confess the Lord, Alleluia”). The singing is accompanied by the frequent repetition of the words “for His mercy endureth forever.” This is what gave the name to this part of Matins.

The polyeleos is celebrated only on the matins of Sundays and feast days. After the reading of the Gospel there is the anointing of the faithful with blessed oil. This action is not a Mystery, but a sacred rite of the Church, serving as a memorial of God’s mercy for us (in Greek the world eleos as has the meaning of oil). During this time all lamps and lit in the church

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