The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
Some historians believe that The Liturgy of St. Basil was, until the twelfth century, the principle liturgy of the Byzantine Churches. Full of biblical imagery and theological depth, its anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer is perhaps the most beautiful of all Liturgies.
Due to its length, St. Basil's Liturgy takes on a penitential character; a preparation to celebrate the great feasts of the year. Today, our Church prescribes that it be celebrated only ten times a year: on the five Sundays of Great Lent, on the vigils of Easter, Christmas and Theophany, on Holy Thursday and also on the Feast of St. Basil.
The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is shorter and not as rhetorical as that of St. Basil. It originated perhaps as a weekday liturgy, and gradually replaced the Liturgy of St. Basil. Today, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is celebrated every day, except on days when the Liturgy of St. Basil or the Presanctified are specifically prescribed.
The differences between the Liturgies of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom are found mostly in the priests prayers, which until recent times were always prayed inaudibly. Thus, before the introduction of Liturgy Books, the faithful would not have been very aware of the difference between the two Liturgies.
In recent years, the public celebration of the Liturgy of Saint Basil has been somewhat neglected. Immediately following the Second Vatican Council, only the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom was translated into the vernacular.
In 1980 and again in 1988, the Ukrainian Catholic Church published official Ukrainian translations of the Liturgy of St. Basil. Unofficial English translations are now widely available.