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Choral Corner #31: Do some saints have multiple troparia/kontakia, and if so, why?

Most saints have a single troparion and kontakion (which, by the way, autocorrect insists on rendering as "contagion". Alrighty then.). However, sometimes there are two troparia, kontakia, or both; in this case, the choir may sing both or just pick one.

Why do some saints get multiples? It's not always clear. In the case of St. Mark the Apostle and Evangelist (and patron of my home parish), there are two troparia provided at the end of Great Vespers, with no hymnographer attributions. It may be that one hymn predated the composition of this saint's service and was incorporated upon discovery. This can also happen with kontakia.

Additionally, some saints have more than multiple troparia/kontakia; they have multiple complete services! For example, consider the two services for the Holy Royal Passionbearers of Russia (July 17th/July 4th O.S.). One, produced by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), has a very historical focus with many political details that, while certainly relevant, may not carry as much meaning for Orthodox Christians in other parts of the world. The other service, published by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate/MP), includes some historical information but has a much more universal, spiritual emphasis that is immediately applicable in every time and place.

The MP service to the Royal Passionbearers of Russia was recently translated into English by Sergei Arhipov (and edited by yours truly). You can find the complete text HERE.

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