While my family has focused on many different hymns in the Orthodox Church to accomplish our hymn study goals in the past, this year we are working on learning the Aposticha verses (sticheron) for some of the feasts of the church. These are verses that can go by so quickly during a Great Vespers or Vigil service, but they are so rich that I want us to slow down and consider the words and what the church is teaching us through them.
As our +Archbishop Alexander (Golitzin) (OCA Diocese of the South) recently said, the hymns of the church, and the services in which they are sung, are the way the Church teaches us how to understand the Scriptures.
Since I arrange our hymn study to fit a 3-term school year, with each term lasting 12 weeks, I’ve chosen 6 hymns (in this case Aposticha) for the school year, each of which we will work on for 6 weeks. We tend to do school from August to May and follow a traditional U.S. school schedule, so I chose feasts that would allow us to try to study each before the actual feast is celebrated. (However, if your schedule is different, it is certainly beneficial to learn them anytime.) So this year, we will study:
Term 1A: Aposticha for the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14/27)
Term 1B: Aposticha for the Entrance (Presentation) of the Theotokos in the Temple (November 21 / December 4)
Term 2A: Aposticha for the Nativity of our Lord (December 25 / January 7)
Term 2B: Aposticha for Annunciation (March 25 / April 7)
Term 3A: Aposticha for Great and Holy Friday (this year April 22)
Term 3B: Aposticha for Pentecost (this year June 13)
I have put together an open-and-go resource for these hymns, which includes the how-to of hymn study from my previous post, links to sheet music and videos, notes on the words of the hymns for parents, and plain-text pages of the words for use in your homeschool as well. You can purchase it below (find the link under the file preview images) on Etsy.