Afterfeast

An Afterfeast is a period of celebration attached to one of the Great Feasts celebrated by the Orthodox Christian and Eastern Catholic Churches (roughly equivalent to what in the West would be called an Octave).

The celebration of the Great Feasts of the church year are extended for a number of days, depending upon the particular Feast. Each day of an Afterfeast will have particular hymns assigned to it, continuing the theme of the Feast being celebrated. At each of the divine services during an Afterfeast, the troparion and kontakion of the feast are read or chanted. The canon of the feast will usually be chanted on every day of the Afterfeast (if two canons were chanted on the day of the feast, they will be alternated on the days of the afterfeast). Some of the Great Feasts of the Lord will have a special canon composed of only three odes, called a Triode, which will be chanted at Compline on each day of the Afterfeast.

Most of these Great Feasts also have a day or more of preparation called a Forefeast (those Feasts that are on the moveable Paschal Cycle do not have Forefeasts). Forefeasts and Afterfeasts will affect the structure of the services during the Canonical Hours.

The last day of an Afterfeast is called the Apodosis ("leave-taking", lit. "giving-back") of the Feast. On the Apodosis, most of the hymns that were chanted on the first day of the Feast are repeated. On the Apodosis of Feasts of the Theotokos, the Epistle and Gospel from the day of the Feast are repeated again at the Divine Liturgy.

The Forefeasts and Afterfeasts break down as follows:

Days of

Forefeast

Name of

Feast

Date Days of

Afterfeast

1 Nativity of the Theotokos 8 September 5
1 Exaltation of the Cross 14 September 8
1 Entry of the Theotokos 21 November 5
5 Nativity of our Lord 25 December 7
4 Theophany of our Lord 6 January 9
1 Meeting of our Lord 2 February 8
0 Palm Sunday Sunday before Pascha 0
1 Annunciation of the Theotokos 25 March 2
0 Pascha Sunday of the Resurrection 39
0 Mid-Pentecost Twenty-fifth day of Pascha 7
0 Ascension of our Lord Fortieth day of Pascha 9
0 Pentecost (Trinity Sunday) Fiftieth day of Pascha 7
1 Transfiguration of our Lord 6 August 8
1 Dormition of the Theotokos 15 August 9

Four of these Afterfeasts have a special commemoration on the day following the Feast, called a Synaxis. In this context, a Synaxis commemorates a saint who is intimately bound up with the Feast being celebrated. The four Synaxes are:

  • Synaxis of Ss. Joachim and Anna (9 September—the day after the Nativity of the Theotokos)
  • Synaxis of the Theotokos (26 December—the day after the Nativity of our Lord)
  • Synaxis of the Forerunner (7 January—the day after the Theophany of our Lord)
  • Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel (26 March—the day after the Annunciaton) If the Annunciation falls during Holy Week the Synaxis is omitted.

Other Great Feasts that have Afterfeasts (although no Forefeasts) are:

  • The Nativity of the Forerunner (June 24)
  • The Beheading of the Forerunner (August 29)
  • The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29).

Each of these three has only 1 day of Afterfeast, and no Apodosis. These are not counted among the Twelve Great Feasts (i.e., Great Feasts of the Lord or Theotokos).

Even though the Patronal Feast of a parish church or monastery is treated as a Great Feast, it has no Forefeast or Afterfeast.

The Feast of the Procession of the Cross (August 1), though it is not counted as a Great Feast, has one day of Forefeast, and no Afterfeast.

Other articles related to "afterfeast, afterfeasts":

Octave (liturgical) - Eastern Christian Usage
... the West would be called an Octave is referred to as an Afterfeast ... Each day of an Afterfeast will have particular hymns assigned to it, continuing the theme of the Feast being celebrated ... Forefeasts and Afterfeasts will affect the structure of the services during the Canonical Hours ...
Epiphany (holiday) - Epiphany in Different Christian Traditions - Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches - Liturgical Practice in Eastern Churches
... This is normally done on Theophany, or at least during the Afterfeast, but if the parishioners are numerous, and especially if many live far away from the church, it may take some time to bless each house ... Afterfeast The Feast of Theophany is followed by an eight-day Afterfeast on which the normal fasting laws are suspended ...