Divine Liturgy - The central divine service of the Orthodox Catholic Church, the first portion of which centers on the reading of Scripture and common prayers, and the second portion, on the celebration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
There are three main variants of the Divine Liturgy: the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, once the regular Sunday Liturgy, which is now served only ten times during the year; the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which is served on Sundays and feast-days whenever the Liturgy. of St. Basil is not served; and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, which is served during Lent.
The Divine Liturgy consists of psalms, hymns and prayers, between which are sung litanies and various other short responses. The major unchanging hymns of the Ordinary include: "Only-begotten Son," the Trisagion, the Cherubic Hymn, the Creed, "A mercy of peace," the Lord's Prayer, and "Let our mouths be filled"; in addition, the Divine Liturgy includes a number of hymns of the Proper, which pertain to the occasion being celebrated. Initially all these hymns were sung in unison chant, then in polyphony; in the 17th century cyclic compositions arose, known as "Sluzhby Bozhii." In more recent times complete cycles of hymns from the Divine Liturgy, as well as individual hymns, were set to music by numerous composers, including Berezovsky, Bortniansky, Vedel, Turchaninov, Davydov, Aliab'yev, Tchaikovsky, Arkhangelsky, Ippolitov-Ivanov, Panchenko, Nikolsky, Gretchaninoff, P. Chesnokov, Rebikov, Rachmaninoff, Kastalsky, Kompaneisky, A. Chesnokov, Shvedoff, N. Tcherepnin, and others.