Friday, May 08, 2009

Of Prayer Books - III (Holy Tranfiguration's Prayer Book)

The Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians of Holy Transfiguration Monastery demands attention from anyone serious about following a rule of prayer. This prayer book provides a more liturgical rule that still works on a personal (individual) level. The Morning Prayer section is somewhat abbreviated in comparison to the Jordanville and Sophia Press books. However, like the Jordanville volume, this book includes excerpts from Orthros and Vespers, and Troparia, Theotokia and Kontakia for all the major Feast Days. Instead of the Evening Prayers, Small Compline is provided along with seven Canons and Akathists, allowing each evening to be concluded with a particular spiritual emphasis. For those who might find the nightly repetition of the bedtime prayers difficult, the option of Compline with a Canon or Akathist provides variety within a stable framework.

The text is in classical English. Of special note is that the troparia typically can be chanted easily according to the original Greek melodies. For example, if you know the melodies of the Paraklesis (Supplicatory Canon) to the Theotokos chanted every August, you can chant the HTM texts with no difficulty. The troparia of a given ode all follow the same pattern.

This particular emphasis of the monks’ work is most praiseworthy. Generally, translation of Eastern hymns seek to get the meaning across without reference to the poetic quality inherent in all Byzantine worship. The monks at Holy Transfiguration, however, often spend years refining the phrasing and clarity of the translation before publishing. This guarantees that their work will flow easily whether recited or chanted.

While it is taking them decades to complete translations and publication of the entire corpus of Byzantine liturgical books, the work to date indicate that Holy Transfiguration’s translations will endure as standards against which all others will be measured.

Like all of Holy Transfiguration’s publications, the Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians is cloth-bound and beautifully printed on quality paper of proven durability. The text is in black with rubrics and instructions in red with icons periodically gracing the text. This book is made to last and is a worthy addition to your prayer shelf library.

PS, To the person asking about Spanish language prayer book resources, I will look into it and see what I can find.

1 comment:

Vetus Romanus said...

Oof. I do not know if your reviews make it easier or harder...they all sound so good. Thank you for your posts, they have certainly narrowed the search. God bless.

--Miles Christi