Eastern Catholic Devotions

How Eastern Catholics pray? I know they have the Jesus prayer and icons but what else? Do they have an equivalent to scapulars? How do they pray?

In the Byzantine tradition some use prayer ropes of wool or leather such as letovska. It is common to offer prayers standing before one or more icons. Crosses and small icons are worn. The scapular is from the Latin tradition, however, some eastern Catholics use them.

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As a generalization, Eastern Catholics tend to be much more liturgical in their “private” devotions (and we have no real concept of a “private” devotion). Many will either recite the Divine Office, or at least a selection of prayers from the Divine Office and perhaps even from the Divine Liturgy. Prayerful reading of the Scriptures (what Roman Catholics call lectio divina) as well as the writings of the Church Fathers is also a central part of our devotional life.

This being said, following the spirituality of the Desert Fathers, our prayer and our devotional reading is really meant to fuel action - to make the kingdom of God present on earth. So a strong part of our devotional life, traditionally, is the corporal works of mercy (and the spiritual works of mercy that flow from).

If we have scapulars at all, they are simply a Latinization; as is the rosary, despite the fact that many Eastern Catholics love and pray the rosary.

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Each Eastern Christian has his/her personal Prayer Rule, given to them by their elder or confessor, which specifies how much and what they pray. The Prayer Rule may include things like reading a chapter from the Scriptures, reciting certain litanies, etc.

We also have these things, which may be incorporated into Prayer Rules. Not everyone does everything, but they are all used by somebody:

  1. The daily liturgical cycle (“the Hours”). Many Easterners also attend Vespers services on Saturday nights before Sunday Divine Liturgy.

  2. The Jesus Prayer prayed on the prayer rope (Chotki) or with the Lestovka

  3. Reading the Synaxarion (i.e. the Lives of the Saints for every day)

  4. Praying the Canons or Akathists (such as the Canon of Repentence or Canon to Guardian Angel). Many Orthodox pray Canons before receiving Communion on Sunday.

  5. Usually Eastern Christians start their prayers with the Trisagion prayers.

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Thank you this helps very much! Do you happen to have any Byzantine Prayer book suggestions?

This is also very useful! Thank you very much! Do you happen to have any Byzantine Prayer book suggestions?

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Thank you - being Orthodox, I don’t know of a Byzantine Catholic prayer book, but hopefully someone else here will?

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Publican’s Prayer Book

This one comes highly recommended. It was actually recommended to me by another Orthodox Christian.

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I second @CoffeeFanatic’s recommendation of The Publican’s Prayer Book. I’ve had several copies of it, but always end up giving it away.

I also recommend volume 1 of the two-volume Let Us Pray to the Lord from Eastern Christian Publications. It’s Byzantine Catholic, but I’ve heard of many Orthodox folks using it as well.

I’m actually Maronite, so I don’t really use Byzantine prayer books that often. I like the three-volume Maronite Prayer of the Faithful - which is the closest thing English-speaking Maronites have to a Liturgy of the Hours right now.

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Maybe they’ll go to church every sunday? I can promise that the priest would wear a deluxe clergy robe to pray.

I “discovered” the Jesus Prayer in seminary… the CCC also refers positively towards it (2667). I spent a lot of time reading about it in the Philokalia. I have incorporated the Jesus Prayer into my daily prayer life…and it has definitely strengthened me, spiritually. I also use it in the Confessional when the priest directs me to offer an Act of Contrition. Every priest reacts positively when I recite it…20 years now.

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As a byzantine catholic myself I would also include the Prayer Rule of the Theotokos. The only thing I learnt other than the official version, I do the whole normal Trisagion and then gobdirectly to the eastern form of the Hail Mary.

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