Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Of Prayer Books - Introduction

As a priest of the Church, prayer is the essential and central reality of my vocation and life. As a Byzantine priest, I am called upon to follow the priestly rule of prayer prescribed by that Tradition.

Some time ago, I reviewed two basic options for following the priestly rule in English (search this site for "Divine Praises"). However, this does not exhaust the options available in English for Byzantine prayers in general. For the Eastern Christian, prayer is not confined to the public liturgical life of the Church (the Divine Liturgy, the Hours, Mysteries, Akathists, Canons, etc.). Even as we cherish and preserve the divine services and hymns of the Fathers, we also preserve various prayers that have proven spiritually beneficial over the centuries. Herein, I will review several notable collections of these ‘personal’ prayers available in English.

First, I must clarify that I am not including discussion of such English language classics as Isabel F Hapgood's Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic Church or Father Seraphim Nassar’s Divine Prayers and Services of the Catholic Orthodox Church of Christ (the “Five Pounder”). While these are excellent resources, their content is generally ‘public’ worship. My focus will be on the ‘personal’ prayer books.

I will present these reviews as a series of individual posts. This may help those who are searching for information on a particular volume. In addition, any comments can be tied to the specific book under consideration.

1 comment:

Byzantine, TX said...

Wonderful! I have a lot of prayer books and am still searching for the 'perfect' book.