Λέγεται "Αλληλούϊα" μετά το κοινωνικόν "Σώμα Χριστού"; / Is "Soma Christou" followed
Μελέτη / A study
As a matter of fact, all Patriarchal musical publications do
not have Alleluia in compositions of "Soma Xristou". Should they?
I just got a thesis by Stig Ragnvald Froyshov entitled "L'Horologe Georgien du Sinaiticus
Ibericus 34", The Georgian Horologion of Sinaiticus Ibericus 34. It's a publication
of the Horologion as preserved in the 10th c. Georgian ms Sin 34 with accompanying
translation in French and extensive commentaries by Froyshov.
There's a part directly related to the koinonikon. According to the Georgian ms
the verses which were recited before the communion (cf. modern koinonika) are as
O taste and see that the Lord is good. Allelouia.
I will bless the Lord at all times.
O magnify the Lord with me.
Come unto Him, and be enlightened. Allelouia.
Glory to the Father. Allelouia.
Both now. Allelouia.
Let us receive the Body and Blood of Christ,
let us taste the fountain of immortality. Allelouia.
Then there are other things following, but they aren't indespensable for our purposes.
The verses above are possibly abbreviated and maybe also the Allelouia is left out
after some verses for brevity as it is usual in old mss, but it's obvious that the
hymn which is strikingly similar to the koinonikon of Pascha has Allelouia. This
I guess resolves the issue.
I had a look at the Typikon of the Church of Greece. There is a footnote saying
that Soma Xristou is not a psalmic verse and therefore shouldn't have alleluia.
They say the same for the koinwnikon of Mesopentecoste (although all musical manuscripts
have Alleluia). But they don't apply the rule to the Koinwnikon of Theophany as
well. What confusion..
After all my conclusion seems to be that all koinonika have alleluia and we
should chant it. Soma Xristou has alleluia
but we may not chant it to signify
in yet another way the difference of the great feast (exactly as we omit other things
on that day) and to respect the classical compositions (I felt bad appending an
Alleluia to Daniel's Soma Xristou last time).
I looked in the Holy Week book published by Papadimitriou (they say according
to the Ec. Patr. edition) and they have Allilouia after Soma Xristou. Also Fr. Papagiannis
in Apostoliki Diakonia edition has it. Elder Xrysostomos from Athos in his book
writes that on Pascha during the communion Soma Xristou with Allelouia is chanted
in Mode 3 necessary number of times so that everybody communes (I think he means
some short version repeated many times). So it seems Allilouia is still a popular
thing. For non-Greeks (like me with other Georgians) it's not even an issue: we
Translation/summary from Prof. Ioannis Fountoulis'
book (vol 5, Answer 511):
First of all, the Koinonikon is a psalm which - in the ancient times- was chanted
antiphonically (alternating right and left choir) with ephymnion (refrain) "Alleluia" after each verse. The psalm is chosen either as preparatory for Holy Communion
or related to the feast day theme. This way of chanting the Koinonikon faded,
although Psalm 33 (which was used as a Koinonikon earlier) has reamained to
cover similar liturgical events (e.g. distribution of Antidoron in the Presanctified
Liturgy). Later, for various reasons it became customary for one chanter to
recite the verses of the psalm while the choir followed each verse wtih a
a single verse from the Koinonikon psalm. With time, that single verse ended up
being chanted on its own, slowly and melismatically, set to music according to each
From the above, it is clear that in pronciple the Koinonikon is a psalmic verse
with refrain "Alleluia". Only few exceptions exist: Two Koinonika are not psalmic
verses but from the New Testament ("Epefanh h xaris..", "O trwgwn mou tin sarka..")
but these are very close in style to the psalms.
Two other Koinwnika are more different in that they are hymnological compositions
("Tou Deipnou sou.." and "Soma Christou"). The first is a full troparion and
its use on Great Thursday is special as it also replaces the Cherubic Hymn, the
"Eidomen" and the "Plerothetw".
"Soma Christou" is clearly a communion hymn, obviously ancient, short and compact
and it has the form of an ephymnion (refrain). Undoubtedly it was written
for this special use like other ancient hymns which are now unused.
The use of Alleluia as a cadence of psalmic verses is general practice. Does this
rule apply to the Koinonika which are not psalmic verses? For the first two ("Epefanh
h xaris" and "O trwgwn mou tin sarkan") there is no doubt. They are followed by
Alleluia. Although not psalmic verses, they are scriptural verses. About "Tou Deipnou
sou" there is also no doubt. It is not followed by Alleluia. This hymn is all special,
it was not written originally as a Koinonikon, like other ancient Koinonika which
are not followed by Alleluia.
What about "Soma Xristou"? If it doesn't have Alleluia, it would be the only
exception in Koinonika. This already reduces the chance for the omission
to be correct but doesn't prove it. The proponents of the omission of Alleluia
argue that "Soma Xristou" is not a psalmic verse but ignore that the two other non-psalmic
verse Koinonika do have Alleluia, as do a few other non-psalmic verses in our worship
namely "Osoi eis Xriston", "Soson Hmas Yie Theou", the even-numbered Oikoi of the
Akathistos and others.
In the Divine Liturgy, Alleluia is used in four symbolic parts of the service. In
the small entrance (preparing it), preparing the Gospel reading (Alleluarion), preparing
the great entrance (Chrubic hymn) and finally preparing communion (Koinonikon and
Our question could be anwered by ancient Typika or Pentecostaria. Unfortunately
in a couple of dozen ancient and modern ones that we checked , only the beginning
of the verse is given "Soma Xristou Metalavete" and not the end. Only the more modern
Typikon of Dionysiou Monastery (Mt Athos) says in that margin "At the end of that,
Alleluia is not chanted". Contrary to that, Xeropotamou Monastery (Mt Athos) Typikon
has the whole of "Soma Xristou" verse with the Alleluia. Both of these manuscripts
were written in the 19th century. Looks like it was then when this issue manifested
so that the authors of Typika started to explicitly prescribe "Alleluia" or not.
The fact all previoues ones don't say anything there is a srtong argument that "Soma
Xristou" followed the usual practice, that is, Alleluia was chanted after it.
This is verified by the manuscript and printed music books as well. The old manuscripts
have "Alleluia", the newer publications don't.
In paragraph 43 of the the Preface of the Typikon of the Great Church (by G. Biolakis)
we will find the solution to the question whether Alleluia is a sorrowful hymn and
is not suitable as a scripture Alleluiarion or as a Koinonikon ephymnion in Pascha.
In one place, the Koinonikon is not mentioned as a place to omit Alleluia, but in
the paragraph about the Epistle reading Alleluiarion is also mentioned the Koinonikon
as a place to omit Alleluia. The Typikon itself prescribes "Soma Xristou Metalabete" in the rubrics for Pascha, not specifying explicitly the omission (and obviously
meaning to follow the general rule). Although the attempt to omit the Alleluia
of the Epistle failed so far, the Koinonikon did not escape the "correction".
It is though strange that the supporters of the "correction" did not extend their
"corrective mania" to the ressurectional ephmnion of the second Antiphonon and the
Paschal Eisodikon ("Swson hmas Yie Theou, o anastas ek nekrwn, psallontas soi Alleluia").