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Agpeya


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#1 Kris

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 11:02 PM

Peace,

I wanted to ask (Mr. Farrington in particular) what role, if any, the Agpeya* plays in the spiritual life of the British Orthodox Church, and how it compares to its use in the wider Coptic tradition.

If it is not used, does the BOC utilise anything of a similar nature?

Thanks

In XC,
Kris

*For those unfamiliar with the term, Agpeya is the Coptic version of the Horologion (Book of Hours).

#2 Peter Farrington

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 08:34 AM

Hi Kris

Thanks for the question.

It is the general basis of the spiritual life of the members of the British Orthodox Church. On my way in to work this morning I prayed the First Hour, as I normally try to do, and then the Jesus Prayer.

I try to pray one of the Evening Hours as well. Others who are more spiritual DO pray the Evening Hours as well.

A little while ago we formed a ministry called the British Orthodox Fellowship to allow non-Orthodox to be part of a community of interest in Orthodoxy. The Handbook which I produced contains the Morning, Midday and Evening Prayers from the Book of Hours, in our own English edition.

So it is very important, and I have been distributing little prayer books containing the Morning and Evening Prayers to enquirers for a couple of years now, and nearly run out!

Peter

#3 Kris

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 10:40 AM

Hi Peter,

Thanks for answering my question. I am quite fond of the Agpeya myself. I like the way each hour includes its own Gospel reading; a feature the Byzantine Horologion does not have as far as I'm aware.

Would you also happen to know in what ways the Agpeya differs from the Se'atat used by the Ethiopian Orthodox, compiled by George of Gascha in the 15th century?


Here's the online text for the Agpeya in English for those who want it.

Also, if anyone wants the English text for the Byzantine hours, let me know and I can mail it to you. It's not available online as far as I know (only cross refrences and such).

In XC,
Kris

#4 Peter Farrington

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 10:57 AM

Hi Kris

I do like the stability of the Book of Hours because it changes by the time of day not by the season. And that means that I know much of the Morning Prayer especially, by heart, which is a blessing.

In fact the Irish practice was close to that of the Coptic because of the influence of the Desert Fathers on Irish life, and because of later visits by Coptic monks. The Coptic Orthodox read all of the Psalms each day if they are praying the full Hours. (I don't read all the Psalms each day!).

I can't say anything about the Ethiopic Hours. I think the Se'atat are the Night Hours. These are lengthy in the Coptic Tradition, and I can imagine they are lengthier in the Ethiopic. The Ethiopian Orthodox are a distinct local Church with their own immense cultural history and so I believe that the Rites are not the same as the Coptic Orthodox, though of course they are related.

Do you have an online source for the Ethiopic Hours?

Best wishes

Peter

#5 Anthony

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 11:27 AM

Also, if anyone wants the English text for the Byzantine hours, let me know and I can mail it to you. It's not available online as far as I know (only cross refrences and such).



Dear Kris,

There is an on-line version at Anastasis.

Anthony

#6 Kris

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 11:28 AM

The Coptic Orthodox read all of the Psalms each day if they are praying the full Hours. (I don't read all the Psalms each day!).


Another thing I like about the Agpeya :-)

The Byzantine Hours only include three Psalms for each hour. However, we follow the practice of dividing the Psalter into 20 katthismata, two of which are read every morning at Matins and one at Vespers.

As such, the entire Psalter is read once a week. This is doubled during Lent.

Also, we share the Coptic practice of basing the midnight office around Psalm 118.

I can't say anything about the Ethiopic Hours. I think the Se'atat are the Night Hours. These are lengthy in the Coptic Tradition, and I can imagine they are lengthier in the Ethiopic. The Ethiopian Orthodox are a distinct local Church with their own immense cultural history and so I believe that the Rites are not the same as the Coptic Orthodox, though of course they are related.


I have great admiration for the Ethiopic tradition. Particularly the faithfulness with which they observe times of prayer and the fasts. From what I've read, it is common practice among the Ethiopians that anyone who doesn't pray seven times per day is not admitted to receive the Holy Eucharist.

Of course, this could have the obvious disadvantage that rather than pray more, people simply take Communion less (which would be a bad thing), but the fact that such customs exist bears witness to the great piety that exists within that community.

And not simply in a legalistic way, but really inbedded into the hearts and minds of the believers there.

Do you have an online source for the Ethiopic Hours?


I'm afraid I don't (hence my question). This site had some information:

There are two types of Horologium, for the day and for the night. The Horologium was composed by distinguished 15th century scholar, Abba Giyorgis of Gascha; during the ensuing it was gradually enriched by additional hymns and prayers. In big churches it is usual for monks, priests and deacons to conduct the Se’atat in the northern part of the ambulatory, while the Debteras are conducting a different service.

The book of Se’atat contains the great public prayers of the Church, not necessarily said in public but always offered in the name of the church. It is recited at stated hours in churches, monasteries and outside. It is divided into seven parts known as canonical hours and each part is recited at its own hour. These hours are known as Night, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and compline. To be more exact the first of the canonical hours is night or matins (morning office) which is followed by lauds or praises of God. These are reckoned as one “hour”. The next division is prime or first because it is said at “first hour” or sun rise. Then terce or third, recited at the third hour. Sext or sixth at noon; none or ninth at three O’clock; Vespers is next, signifying evening services, and then comes compline or the completion.

The office contains psalms, discourses by the great fathers of the church, hymns and prayers. This office is an abundant treasure of grace. Deacons stand for the “gibre leilit” or night service and chant the “Se’atat” or Book of hours, serving till dawn. There was an arrangement under which a debtera held some church land and was bound in return to recite the Se’atat or Hours of the night at certain times, or held land for which he was bound to recite the “Hours of the Day” in the church. But the recital of the office is not obligatorily imposed on priests and deacons.


But this is only very general information, and I'm keen to get a bit more detail.

In XC,
Kris

#7 Father David Moser

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 04:00 PM

Also, if anyone wants the English text for the Byzantine hours, let me know and I can mail it to you. It's not available online as far as I know (only cross refrences and such).



The entire EO horologion is online in English at: http://pages.prodigy...rd/services.htm

This source is according to the Slavic tradition, however, I don't think that there is a significant difference from the Byzantine tradition.

Fr David Moser

#8 Kris

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 04:04 PM

The entire EO horologion is online in English at: http://pages.prodigy...rd/services.htm

This source is according to the Slavic tradition, however, I don't think that there is a significant difference from the Byzantine tradition.

Fr David Moser


Brilliant! Thank you so much Father!

In XC,
Kris

#9 Peter Farrington

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 04:07 PM

As far as I can see and understand, the Coptic Hours are very much rooted in the living tradition of the Desert Fathers.

Is the Byzantine practice, which I know a little from my use of it some years ago, based more on an urban, lay, parish and cathedral use? (In the historic past I mean)

Peter




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