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Orthodox Daily Prayers (revised edition)


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#1 Theodora E.

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 04:27 AM

Title: Orthodox Daily Prayers
Author(s): none
Publisher: St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, South Canaan, PA, 2008
ISBN: 978-878997-81-4
Pages: 139
Price: $14.00
Links: http://www.stspress....il.aspx?ID=3046
Description: Revised second edition of the original 1982 prayer book from St. Tikhon's Seminary Press. Out of print for some years.

#2 Theodora E.

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 04:42 AM

Note: I am just an average Orthodox laywoman (Orthodox for 5+ years), although very active. I have a journalism degree, was a small town newspaper reporter for a time, thus very interested in language, and have an interest in differences between prayer books, dating back to when I was an Episcopalian.

After flitting between various prayer books for some time (the little red Antiochian one, A Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers, the Jordanville, and the St. Tikhon's Daily Orthodox Prayers), I finally settled down with the St. Tikhon's Daily Orthodox Prayers, about the time I transferred into the OCA. It seemed appropriate that I was praying at home with the same words used in my parish, particularly since I had to learn the OCA translations. They weren't totally different from the Antiochian ones I was used to and had memorized, but just enough was different to trip me up (in church) if I was going from memory.

This was not a sturdily bound paperback and it didn't take long for daily use to result in pages coming very close to completely falling out. I couldn't get a new one, though, since it had been out of print for at least 4-5 years. So someone at church cut the binding off and spiral bound it for me, which has worked out quite well.

I still jumped for joy when I received the email from STS Press last week that this prayer book was FINALLY being reissued. I ordered it. Imagine my consternation when I received it today and found that the daily prayers have been put into "Revised Liturgical English" whatever that is! In other words, what I've got memorized from a year of praying morning and night doesn't match! I had no idea it would be so changed - it's enough to be noticeable if you're into language. Some folks, I suspect, might not notice the difference. The pre-and post-Communion prayers appear to be the same, but the troparion of St. John Chrysostom is changed a good deal, in my opinion. It doesn't even match that in the revised Divine Liturgy book that was published last year. At least they managed to keep the pre-and post-Communion prayers the same, as well as Trisagion prayers and the Octoechos Resurrectional troparia/kontakia. The Prayer of St. Ephraim is changed. "Whole-mindedness" is used instead of "chastity." Yes, it's good to correct translations and such, but if tons of folks have the old one memorized, why mess with it? The one you're going to be using in church will likely be the old one, and thus different than what's in your prayerbook at home. Even GOA, which uses "modern English," still keeps the Lord's Prayer in the Elizabeth English translation!

I imagine the folks used to the "old" (1986?) edition of the Jordanville prayer book were just as dismayed when the newer one came out! I've got a friend who has an edition of the Jordanville from the 1960s and she just keeps taping it together. I loaned her my Jordanville and she didn't like the difference in the translation.

I guess, aside from the wording differences in the prayers themselves, is a change in pronouns. The OCA, following the style of the RSV translation, used Thee/Thou for God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Theotokos, the saints, and angels, were You. Interestingly, thee/thou is used for the Theotokos, the saints, and the guardian angel. In the troparion for the Holy Angels for Sunday evening in Little Compline, you is used (where it's ye elsewhere), but I'm not sure why. It at least is consistent now. I always though the Antiochian translations were somewhat misfortunate in places, but at least the pronouns seemed to be consistent across the board!

The Psalms that were RSV ones tweaked to match the Septuagint in the 1982 original are from a forthcoming Aorist recension of "The Holy Psalter" from the Greek and Slavonic. Did you know "Revised Liturgical English" is actually shown with a copyright symbol on the copyright page?

I'll give STS Press big points for presentation - this little prayer book is nicely printed and designed. It's consistent in size and design with the new Divine Liturgy book. It appears (I've not yet received it) that the new Hours/Typica book is the same size. I consider it unfortunate that it's only available in paperback. But the binding appears to be better than the original edition that fell apart so easily on me. It's really a nice little volume!

Is the type small! I'd say it's probably 10 pt type, same as the new Liturgy book (and about which I've heard countless complaints about people not being able to read it), while the original edition is probably 12 pt type.

My priest made sure to emphasize the value of memorizing at least some of my daily prayers, so I don't think I'll switch, at least not yet...

I just sat down with the new edition and my old one and went through the morning and evening prayers word by word. The changes are in word order, as I previously mentioned - and the verb endings to go with the thee/thou in prayers others than those addressing the Trinity. There are also substitutions: such as "sedition" for "rebellion" in the 2nd evening prayer. It's just enough to trip you up if you're used to the original edition. Psalm 22 (23) in the pre-Communion prayers has more in common with the KJV/RSV version than the Psalter According to the Seventy (which I compared the Psalms to). I guess that was another "sacred cow" the editor didn't want to mess with!

One glaring omission to me was the total dropping of one evening prayer to the Theotokos. It's on page 80 of the original edition (the 9th evening prayer): It begins, "Before you, the Most Pure Mother of God, I who am wretched fall down and pray: you know, O Queen that I sin constantly and anger your Son and my God. No matter how often I repent, I appear a liar before God and repent with trembling. Can God shake me and I do those same things again an hour later?..." I pulled out my Jordanville and was surprised to find that this prayer was missing from the 2003 (fourth edition revised) of the Jordanville. I don't know if it was in older editions. The number/order of evening prayers, at least, in Orthodox Daily Prayers now matches that in the Jordanville.

Suggestion: if you have problems with your sight, don't get Orthodox Daily Prayers. Get the Jordanvile - bigger type!

#3 Nathaniel Woon

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 07:39 AM

Thanks for the review Theodora - would you be able to write one on the other publication from STS - The Hours and Typika? I am wobdering if it is a good idea toi get a few copies for the mission here.

#4 Theodora E.

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 01:06 AM

Nat, I do not have a previous version of the new STS Hours & Typika book, so I do not feel I can do a proper review. I serve as a reader in my OCA parish, and I've used the new Hours & Typika book. It is very usable. I found the rubrics - particularly those for where to insert troparia/kontakia - clear. The Psalm translation is the not-yet-released one used in in the Orthodox Daily Prayers revision. It reads very nicely. The only issue is that if you are accustomed to another translation of the Psalms, it would be best to read these over before the service. Or simply use whatever translation you're used to. My parish uses an old Hours book with RSV Psalms.

I must confess that I was in a very disappointed state when I wrote the prayer book review, as I am very accustomed to the original edition. However, aside from wishing a few things had not been omitted/shortened, it's a very good prayer book. It's nice and slim, and very portable (I took it with me when traveling earlier this summer). My only complaint about the Jordanville is that it's rather thick, since it contains Divine Liturgy/Vespers/Matins. If you're not used to the language in the original edition, it's perfectly fine to use. When I had to call the STS bookstore for something a few months ago and mentioned I was glad the prayer book had been reprinted, I was told that since it had been out of print, they were always getting calls asking when it was going to be reprinted.

It's nice that STS hopefully will keep these in print now, but as a friend commented to me, why do they feel the need to reinvent the wheel and keep messing with the texts? ;-)

So, yes, do buy several copies of the Hours book for your mission. And get the prayer book, too, if you're in need of one!

#5 Nathaniel Woon

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 06:59 AM

Dear Theodora,

Thank you so much for your feedback. I suppose the new STS prayer books are targetted at new group of people. I received a reply and some samples of the Hours and Typika from Sergei Arhipov and tried using the prayes. I found them very easy to get used to. The Jordan ville does have a lot more but I do like the new STS translations - I feel that the structure is so much more natural and I will try to get a few copies for the mission here in Malaysia.




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