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Author Topic: Daily prayers: traditions and practices  (Read 2703 times) Average Rating: 0
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OrthServ86
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« on: June 10, 2004, 04:13:26 PM »

Hello my non-chalcedonian brethren, glory to Jesus Christ!

I would like to ask you all, from all your various jurisdictions and traditions, what are the routine pratices of your daily prayers (ie, those not performed uniquely in church)? Are there any sources online or (preferably cheap) books that expound on this subject?

Though the texts of the prayer services would be nice, I would be even more interested in knowing about the various traditions of the oriental churches (for example, removal of shoes for prayer, absolutions/ablutions of water, the blue cord of ethiopians, etc.) and their practical uses in daily life/prayer.

Thank you all, and peace be with you,

-Justin
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Father Peter
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2004, 04:58:20 PM »

Hi Justin

A great source for the Coptic daily prayers is www.agpeya.org and www.coptichymns.net which is a major forum with lots of audio and video res0urces.

I'd also be interested in other practices associated with the actual devotion.

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2004, 06:35:40 PM »

Hi, Justin!

Glory Forever!!

I also like both of the fine sites which Mr Farrington recommends.

A couple more are:

www.copticchurch.net/classes/getLectionary.php

(this is a daily-update Lectionary site, including Scripture passages, Saints' Lives, date on the Coptic Calendar, etc.) -

also check out the vast resources of the larger site of which this page is a part, www.copticchurch.net. It's extremely well-done.

My favorite Ethiopian Orthodox site is

www.dskmariam.org ,

from a parish in Washington, D.C. They have an online radio station via "Live365" which plays Ethiopian traditional spiritual songs, and carries a live broadcast of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning (... starting early!).
« Last Edit: June 10, 2004, 06:40:43 PM by Rustaveli » Logged
Rustaveli
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2004, 07:01:35 PM »

P.S. -

Two good books on the Ethiopian Orthodox Church are:

1. Towards a Fuller Vision: My life & the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (A Short History: Part One) by Brahana Selassie, a Caribbean-born African-American convert to Orthodoxy and an Ethiopian Orthodox Priest. This is available from That Giant Internet Bookstore for $16.

2. The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church: An Integrally African Church
by Archbishop Yesehaq. I have a copy of this, which I bought when it was re-printed in 1997; the only copies I found on That Bookstore Site are, for some reason, rare and, thus, obscenely expensive. You might be able to find a copy at a public or an academic library.

Salaam!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2004, 07:05:07 PM by Rustaveli » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2004, 07:30:41 PM »

Thanks for your reccomendations and websites, that will give me hours of browsing, I am sure  Smiley . But do not think this thread dead so soon  Cheesy , I am still looking forward to the input of some other oriental brethren regarding the nature, practice and function of devotions foreign to the Byzantine rite, especially now that I know I am not the only one who has wondered  Wink .

peace,

-Justin
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Ben
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2004, 07:41:07 PM »

I went to www.dskmariam.org and found this http://www.dskmariam.org/artsandlitreature/litreature/pdf/doctorinoftheethiopianorthodoxchurch.pdf . Wow, it rally helped me better understand Ethiopian Orthodoxy!!!
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2004, 07:45:14 PM »

As I was reading http://www.dskmariam.org/artsandlitreature/litreature/pdf/doctorinoftheethiopianorthodoxchurch.pdf
I noticed that when explaining the fall and the sin of adam and eve, it states "and Adam's sin was transmitted to his posterity". This sounds like the Roman Catholic teaching on Original sin, it is surely contrary to what Eastern Orthodox priests have told me!
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2004, 07:53:45 PM »

This may be a problem of translation from the original text. There are many gifted and scholarly Ethiopian theologians and scholars, but often they are not native speakers of English; English texts may be translated by linguists or translators who are not similarly trained.

*** An example in this text might be the use of the term "Soul Father", rather than the more common "spiritual father" of Orthodox writings in English.

I like "Soul Father", though - it has a James Brown-esque feel (cf. J.B. as "Reverend Cleophas" in The Blues Brothers !

(This is just a conjecture... perhaps I could contact the Ethiopian priest in Raleigh, who has had theological books published in Ethiopia. "He is both wise and powerful...").
« Last Edit: June 10, 2004, 07:57:55 PM by Rustaveli » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2004, 07:56:41 PM »

Dear Justin,

One of the things I've noticed in becoming familiar with various traditions in "apostolic Christianity" is how daily prayers get more "liturgical" the farther East you go.  RC prayer books have some liturgical prayers in them, maybe the order of Mass, etc., but the bulk of the contents are "devotional" prayers, novenas, etc.  I own four EO prayer books, two of the "Greek" tradition and two of the "Russian".  They have more liturgical prayers, but also seem to contain what I'd call "devotional" prayers (unless these prayers are liturgical and I just don't know where they could be found).  All of the OO prayer books I've ever seen contain only liturgical prayers.  So, while you could start your day as an RC with a Consecration to the Sacred Heart and various prayers to saints and for various needs, or as an EO with basic prayers, troparia, Psalms, and other prayers, liturgical and not so liturgical, if you start your day as an OO, you will be directed to the morning services of the Church, period.  If the people choose not to use those, then they invariably figure out something for themselves, usually private prayer and Scripture reading for example.  

Our tradition is to pray without shoes.  In church it is mandatory, at home people usually have their shoes off anyway, but if you do have your shoes on for some reason, you take them off.  This does not apply, of course, to certain situations like praying before meals (I imagine it would look strange to onlookers to see a person take off their shoes at McDonald's for thirty seconds while saying grace).  I always wash my hands before prayer, but there is no specific ritual or prayer for that.  I don't even think it is "mandatory".  I do it, and I can't imagine it any other way.  I don't know what else there is to say, I would think it is very similar to other OO/EO practices.
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2004, 08:01:31 PM »

That may be a good idea, because, the english translation seems very un-Orthodox.
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2004, 08:05:09 PM »

Wow, that's a lot of replies for such a short period of time - thanks  Smiley

Mor, thanks for that bit of explanation, it is very helpful for me  Smiley . Do you know of any online resources or books for sale regarding syrian prayer in the english language (with or without Syriac transliniear)?

Thank you,

peace,

-Justin
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2004, 08:10:04 PM »

More Super (as in super-cool) Sites, these Syrian Orthodox:

http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~t-issa/syr/syr4.htm

http://sor.cua.edu/

The latter includes a "clickable" link to the closest current liturgical hour according to your current time (tres magnifique!), which (as Mor Ephrem explains above) is "the" Prayerbook in Oriental Orthodox practice.

(A native Malayam-speaking Indian Orthodox man once told me he remembers his Grandfather spending literally hours each day reading all of the Liturgical Hours - or, often, reciting them from memory)!
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2004, 08:38:05 PM »

http://www.syrianorthodoxchurch.org/library/bookstore.htm
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2004, 08:46:12 PM »

Quote
One of the things I've noticed in becoming familiar with various traditions in "apostolic Christianity" is how daily prayers get more "liturgical" the farther East you go.  RC prayer books have some liturgical prayers in them, maybe the order of Mass, etc., but the bulk of the contents are "devotional" prayers, novenas, etc.  I own four EO prayer books, two of the "Greek" tradition and two of the "Russian".  They have more liturgical prayers, but also seem to contain what I'd call "devotional" prayers (unless these prayers are liturgical and I just don't know where they could be found).  All of the OO prayer books I've ever seen contain only liturgical prayers.  So, while you could start your day as an RC with a Consecration to the Sacred Heart and various prayers to saints and for various needs, or as an EO with basic prayers, troparia, Psalms, and other prayers, liturgical and not so liturgical, if you start your day as an OO, you will be directed to the morning services of the Church, period.  If the people choose not to use those, then they invariably figure out something for themselves, usually private prayer and Scripture reading for example.

That is very interesting Mor, thank you for pointing that out.  Smiley

This may be a stupid question (and if so I apologize in advance), but is there any particular reason that the OO prayerbooks only have liturgical prayers? Do the OO just not have any devotional prayers?

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2004, 09:09:07 PM »

I'm not the expert in this field, but I think that the use of the most ancient prayer cycle of the Church, the "Daily Office" (or Agpeya, Horologion, etc.) is precisely that - an ancient practice [developed fully in early monastic practice) that may have been longer preserved (at least as a prayer rule for lay people) in places with an ancient, continuous Orthodox presence - e.g., the Malabar Coast of India, Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Armenia, etc.The Greek & Russian prayerbooks which Mor Ephrem mentions often contain devotional hymns, such as Akathists and Canons, which are of later (  Wink - 5th Century and after... ?) composition, although the "Morning Prayers" and "Prayers Before Sleep" [compiled for use by laypeople] often contain prayers from the Monastic Hours, such as The Midnight Office, Matins, Vespers, and Compline.

I suspect that such prayerbook collections, like later Roman Catholic practices, are a relatively recent invention - perhaps even an innovation of Nineteenth Century Russia (IS OUTRAGE!).

I defer to His Exalted Ephremness (and the other gifted Elder posters...) on this topic, though, particularly with regards to Malankar / Syrian practice.
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2004, 11:28:11 AM »

Rustavelli

I think that you are right that the Coptic Orthodox Agpeya prayers - which I know - are rooted in monastic life. In fact many of the devout Coptic Orthodox lay people I know are a great witness to me of the possibility of living to some degree the monastic life in the married context. Coptic Orthodox Church is a monastic Church, and all of her members are called to a strict and deeply spiritually way of life - even if some such as I fail to put fully this spirituality into practice.

I was not aware that there were EO who did not have the same comprehensive prayers as the pattern of devotion? I know many Copts who pray Prime, Vespers and Compline at least. I had assumed that all EO would have the same as a target at least?

Peter
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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2004, 12:00:40 PM »

Yes, many of the Greek & Russian prayerbooks include an abbreviated form of at least Vespers, Matins, and Compline.

I think that the "Morning Prayers" and "Prayers Before Sleep" were formulated as a twice-daily rule of prayer, drawing largely on ancient prayers by Saintly Fathers & Mothers.

I am struck when using the Agpeya that many of the prayers are, therefore, identical.

There's much more psalmody, though!

Still, a worthy basis for a prayer life.

(I find your observations on a monastic prayer life in marriage inspiring, as I'm contemplating the married life with a most fascinating Christian woman!!) Smiley

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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2004, 12:15:25 PM »

Are not all women fascinating?
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2004, 12:21:26 PM »

... yup!!!

Wink
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