Divine Office

I’m wondering–how many of you base your personal prayer life on the Divine Office, prayed in a fuller or less full form–Horologion/Chasoslov, Before and After, Shehimto…

And which translation or editions do you use?

I would like to know if there is a way to do such a thing in the Byzantine rite. Or is the only option to actually pray the Hours?

The Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh allows a simplified divine praises for use in lieu of the hours. They are in the pew-book.

Traditionally, substituting the Chotki (the recitation of the Jesus Prayer) may be used as a substitute as well.

Each Church Sui Iuris may prescribe various systems of the divine praises.

I would like to know if there is a way to do such a thing in the Byzantine rite. Or is the only option to actually pray the Hours?

**As is well known, it takes quite a library to pray the Byzantine office in its full form. Ideally 5 out of some two dozen books are needed for Matins and Vespers.

I don’t know of a monastery in the world–Orthodox or Eastern Catholic–that celebrates the complete office, especially Matins. EVERYONE makes some abbreviations and pruning.

For Fr. Brendan and myself, we did our own Horologion, incorporating the Psalter, every Troparion and Kontakion we could find in English, and a selection of Common and Votive offices. (These last exist in Slavic recensions.)

We also prepared a complete Paraklitiki (Octoechos), with Little Vespers, canons at Compline (which we don’t always say), and Beatitude Verses.

For the Menaion, we have our selection for Pre-feasts, Feasts, and Post-festal periods with such saints (such as Apostles) to whom we are especially devoted.

Generally, for the Propers, we limit ourselves to the Paraklitiki, Triodion, or Pentecostarion.

There is just only so much two sick old monks can say on a daily basis.

If you’re wondering about Matins especially, if you confine yourself to the Scriptural parts of it (Psalms and Biblical Odes), you’ve got the meat of it.

If you’re looking for more propers, see this site:

anastasis.org.uk

There used to be a site where one could download almost all the Orthodox texts in English, prepared by the Holy Myrrhbearers sisters, but I cannot find it now.**

Where do you find this? The pew book has a service of preparation for the Divine Liturgy and the Portion of Vespers required for Vesperal Liturgy.

Fr. Deacon Lance

The prayers of preparation, coupled with the daily commons in lieu of the troparion of preparation.

The prayerbooks for the laity contain selections from Vespers and Matins:

Vespers:
Psalm 103
Psalm 1 (Sunday and Feasts only)
Psalm 141
Psalm 140
Psalm 129
Psalm 116
O Joyful Light
Vouch Safe O Lord
The Canticle of Simeon

Matins:
Psalm 3
Psalm 37
Psalm 62
Psalm 87
Psalm 102
Psalm 145
The Polyeleos (Sunday and Feasts only)
The Evlogitaria (Sunday Only)
The Gradual Hymn First Antiphon Tone 4
Hymn of the Resurrection (Sunday Only)
Canticle of the Theotokos
Psalm 148
Psalm 149
Psalm 150
The Great Doxology (Sunday and Feasts only)
The Doxology (weekdays)

as well as the complete text for Compline.

This is the closest the Byzantine tradition comes to offering a reduced schema of the Divine Office for the laity. Since the Divine Office always remained a public liturgical service, as opposed to a personal obligation of clerics, there was never any thought given to rearranging it for private recitation for anyone, cleric or layperson. As already mentioned , in monasteries the Jesus Prayer was assigned to make up missed services.

According to Fr. Lev Gillet (A Monk of the Eastern Church):

“The Greek rosary (komvoschinion or tchotki) is made up of 100 pearls or wooden beads or knots of wool or thread. The practice is to make one rosary bead and one metanoia correspond to each Jesus Prayer. There are two kinds of metanoia: the lesser metanoia, a deep bow without bending the knees; and the greater metanoia or full prostration, with the forehead touching the ground. On Mount Athos, 1,200 (12 x 100) greater metanoias are made every day, and in the evening 300 lesser metanoias. The Jesus prayer has two forms. The ordinary one is very full: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son and Word of the living God, through the prayers of thy most pure Mother and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us.’ The shorter form, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me,’ is considered a penitential prayer. The Russian usages are different. The Russian rosary is composed of 107 knots divided in this way: 1 large knot and 17 small knots, 2 large knots and 33 small knots, 1 large knot and 40 small knots, 1 large knot and 12 small knots. These four divisions represent the four parts of the daily office: Vespers, Compline, Matins, and the prayers called ‘Typika’. The Russians use the formula: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us.’ They make fewer metanoias than the Greeks. In their use of the rosary, they begin with 10 greater metanoias, next 30 lesser metanoias (both accompanied by the Jesus Prayer); then the Jesus Prayer is said 60 times without metanoias; on the remaining knots great metanoias are made. The rosary should be said 5 times a day. The Russian equivalents between the Jesus Prayer (with metanoias at each invocation) and the office are: for Vespers, 500; for Compline, 200; for Matins, 500; for the Typika, 700. One sees that the practice is somewhat severe.”

From: A Monk of the Eastern Church (Lev Gillet), The Jesus Prayer (New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1997), fn. 8, p. 72.

There is also the Rule of St. Pachomius:
saintjonah.org/services/stpachomius.htm

and the Rule of the Optina Monastery:
orthodox.net/ustav/the-cell-rule-of-five-hundred-of-the-optina-monastery.html

Here’s a site that gives MOST (not all) of the Sunday and Weekday Octoechos that’s free for the download:

archdiocese.ca/e_resources/pdf/OctoechosComplete.pdf

The main omissions are these:

  1. It gives only three (not six) verses on O LORD, I HAVE CRIED for Vespers.

  2. The Weekday Canons are omitted, but this makes sense, as this community recites only the Biblical Odes (from which the Canons originated).

It is there, and it’s free.

Archimandrite Ephraim (Lash) also has some of the Octoechos translated from Athonite usage at anastasis.org.uk/oktoich.htm

I use a wide variety of texts for weekday and weekend prayer in roughly this order of frequency:
1.Anthology for Worship (UGCC) - Little Hours, Order of Preparation for Holy Communion (Canon evening before, prayer rule the day of Holy Communion), Prayer after Holy Communion, lots of liturgy propers, troparia, etc.
2. Horologion (UGCC) containing many texts used throughout the year
4. Octoechos (St. John of Kronstadt Press) for the fixed parts of the Octoechos
5. Old Orthodox Prayer Book (Erie)
6. Book of Akathists (Jordanville)
7. Festal Menaion (St. Tikhon’s Press/Archbishop Kallistos)
8. Horologion (UOC-KP for Ukrainian language prayer)
9. Psalter (HTM or OCA translation)
10. Byzantine Daily Worship

Other books occasionally used:
Unabbreviated Horologion (Jordanville)
Melkite Menaion, Triodion, and Pentecostarion
Byzantine Book of Prayer
Uniontown English translations (rarely except the Triodion)

In terms of a specific rule I follow that given by my spiritual father and that given by Metropolitan Andrey to parochial clergy (not monastics) during the 1917 Russian Catholic Sobor which is also the guidance he typically gave to any parochial clergy who asked his opinion on the matter after ascending the episcopacy.
FDRLB

In terms of a specific rule I follow that given by my spiritual father and that given by Metropolitan Andrey to parochial clergy (not monastics) during the 1917 Russian Catholic Sobor which is also the guidance he typically gave to any parochial clergy who asked his opinion on the matter after ascending the episcopacy.

What specifically did the Metropolitan tell his secular clergy?

At a minimum, Ninth Hour, Vespers and Matins before celebrating on Sundays and major feast days. Remember this is for parochial clergy, and not monastics. The Studites had (and have) a very full celebration of the Horologion after they were reestablished by Metropolitan Andrey.

He also gave an option for use of the prayer rope and Psalter as an option for daily prayer with the Horologion knowing the difficulty of most clergy in having the necessary books, especially those in far-flung mountain or diasporal parishes.
FDRLB

just learing~

How can you pray the Hours by yourself? That is like a priest celebrating Divine Liturgy with no one but himself there.

Actually the Little Hours and Compline were originally monastic cell offices. This is why the all the prayers of these offices may be taken at a reader’s service, they are monastic not prebyteral prayers. Even today in some monasteries these offices are taken privately by monks in their cells while matins, vespers, and midnight office are taken in common. Taking Vesper and Matins privately is the same as doing them as a reader’s service only you do all the parts.

Taking Vesper and Matins privately is the same as doing them as a reader’s service only you do all the parts…

**Personal quirk: I don’t like the term “reader’s service”.

Do the Holy Offices become “priest’s services” if a priest is present? Or “Deacon’s services” if a deacon?

No, they are STILL the services of the Church, even if celebrated sine sacerdote**

I agree - I never really liked that term either. As I recall “Reader’s Services” as a term has only been around since the Antiochians and OCA proliferated missions in the outfall of the “Evangelical Orthodox Church”. I don’t know about other modern Slavic languages, but there is no such phrase in Ukrainian.

Hermits who keep/have kept the full Horologion certainly take/took Vespers and Matins in kellia.

Compline allows the stikhera and other propers from Vespers to be taken immediately after the Canon(s) - St. Theodore of Sanaxar recommended that approach to the nuns under his spiritual guidance when they had no priest for Vespers.
FDRLB

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