Aspasmos? Watos? Psali?

I recently purchased a Deacon’s Service book which was very helpful. However, it features various hymns called “Aspasmos Adams” etc. My question is how do we organise the hymn according to these names and what does each name mean?


  • edited July 2019
    Apasmos, Watos and Psali refer to the different types of hymns that are sung at certain times of the Liturgical year. They can also indicate the melody of the hymn, not just the specific day. But, a good rule of thumb is to know that Adams and Watos refer to days of the week.

    You have Adams (or Adam in English) and Watos days.

    Adams days are Sunday - Tuesday
    Watos days are Wednesday - Saturday

    Psali refers to the hymns and tones sung during Midnight Praises.

    Apasmos refers to the style or tone of the hymn. So, Apasmos Watos may be different dependent on the time of year. It would generally mean, "This hymn is sung on this day (Watos, so Wednesday to Saturday) during, say, Kiahk, in this tone."

    It's like an identification system for hymns. Others can give you a much better detailed response, but I figured I'd at least give you the basics of what I know.

  • To add to what @ItalianCoptic said, asbasmos is a Greek word meaning salutation, peace, and from which derives the word kiss. In every liturgy regardless of the day there are two asbasmoses, an Adam and a watos reflecting the tune. The Adam tune is usually faster and more joyful and through the year the tune is fitted upon "rejoice o Mary". The stanzas are characterised by words with a total of 5 - 7 syllables. Watos is a longer tune, usually slower and more solemn and stanzas are made up of words with a total of 7 - 9 syllables.
    Psali is a Greek word meaning carol. Adam tunes are used in midnight praises on Sunday till Tuesday and watos ones are used between Wednesdays and Saturdays. Remember our days start the evening before.
    One last comment on asbasmoses, you would rarely find one asbasmos not two on some occasions mainly during the holy week.
    Lastly Adam refers to the first word found in the taodokeya (special midnight praises for Virgin Mary) of Monday and watos the first word in the taodokeya of Thursday..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • Thank you comrades, but is there a method of organising them?
  • The simple method is to count the syllables as I mentioned before.. Even though some things are not that straightforward but that usually is the case.. By the way great cantors in the calibre of Ibrahim Ayad and Zaher Andrawos and to some extent Gad Lewis have no idea about what I have just said..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • @Ophadece
    Care to explain what you mean, please?
  • Hi @Jojo_Hanna,
    What I mean is that some watos hymns are treated as though they are Adam as in the case of Lazarus Communion hymn, and very often they insert watos verses into Adam hymns, such as all the martyrs verses in both verses of cymbals and Acts response, and the same for all the special verses (without exception) of Lordly feasts and occasions in those two hymns. There is also one asbasmos Adam that Ibrahim Ayad recorded with the verses taken from the watos psali of that occasion but I can't remember where, either a feast of Resurrection or entry into Jerusalem..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • A slight note on Adam and Watos:
    The original reason for having these words to classify hymns was syllables, not days of the week. That’s why in most liturgies, you can say both the Adam and Watos Aspasmoses without worrying about what day it is, and the same for the Psali Watos for the 3 Saintly Youth- you probably know it as Aripsalin. Even though it’s Watos, you still say it in Adam Tasbehas.
  • How come it’s called Watos Aspasmos (greeting) when there is only a greeting at the Adam Aspasmos??
  • I don't know the history of the development of the liturgy that well but I can contemplate and say greeting is not merely by a holy kiss after the Adam asbasmos. Abouna also draws the signs of the Cross on himself, the servants and the congregation after the watos asbasmos..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • The deacon orders for a greeting at the time of the Adam Aspasmos, not the Watos Aspasmos...
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