As the churches in many parts of the English speaking world, due to state regulations for the containment of the coronavirus epidemic, remain closed or only open to a limited amount of worshippers at a given service, many are finding this a good opportunity to learn more about reader services.
Reader services can be sung or simply read from the texts. Such a service includes the basic content of a service, without, of course, the ectenia and other portions that are said only by the clergy.
Fortunately, we can find many parts of the church services online. Fr. John Whiteford, who for many years has been maintaining a website featuring the texts of church services, is compiling links to major service texts through ninth Sunday after Pentecost.
You can also purchase services from the Menaion at St. John of Kronstadt Press. Although the complete bound set is not a bad investment, separate services can also be purchased at a reasonable price. See their Menaion page, and see, “Click here for a Complete Catalogue of Services available.”
These resources allow us to give reader services a try. We can always pray to God no matter where we are. And as we pray these services, let’s not forget to ask the Lord and His Most Pure Mother to help us through difficult times, to bring a speedy end to the current threat, and that our churches would once again be open for worship and the Eucharist.
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This installment covers the Sundays of Old Calendar July, which on the civil Calendar runs from July 14th through August 13th. I intend to keep these texts posted as long as there are states or English speaking countries that are still under lockdown due to the Coronavirus.
For the Eves of the upcoming Sundays and Feasts, you could ideally do the Vigil. The fixed portions can be downloaded here:
or viewed in HTML, here:
For the Rubrics, see: http://www.saintjonah.org/rub/
The variable portions of the service can be downloaded here (all of these would be served on the eve of their respective days). These services require two files, because these combinations do not repeat annually. In addition to the files linked for the Sundays below, you will need to use the appropriate Katavasia, which for this time period is the Katavasia of the Theotokos. Also, there are some hymns that are appointed according to which Matins Gospel is read. To find out which one is read, you need to look at the Rubrics. For those texts, you will find them here: http://www.saintjonah.org/services/matinsgospel.doc Those hymns are usually done at the Exapostilaria and then at the Doxasticon at the Praises.
Also, the texts below do not always have the full canon for the Menaion, but you can find that here:
https://orthodox-europe.org/liturgics/menaion/july/ (you will need to look up the service according to the Old Calendar (o.s.) date).
For those who observe the Julian calendar, this Sunday, July 12 th n.s. / June 29th o.s., we celebrate the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The Menaion for that day can be found in the month of June: https://orthodox-europe.org/liturgics/menaion/june/.
For the 6th Sunday after Pentecost / St. Sisoes the Great (July 19th n.s. / July 6th o.s.):
For the 7th Sunday after Pentecost / Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils (July 26th n.s. / July 13th o.s.):
For the 8th Sunday after Pentecost / Prophet Elijah (August 2nd n.s. / July 20th o.s.):
For the 9th Sunday after Pentecost / Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon (August 9th n.s. / July 27th o.s.):
However, if doing Vigil is too much for you at present, you could do Small Compline, and take the canon of each of the above days, and read it immediately after the Creed, and then repeat the Kontakion that is appointed after Ode 6th of the canon after the following Trisagion.
In place of the Liturgies, you would do Typika:
For the 6th Sunday after Pentecost / St. Sisoes the Great (July 19th):
For the 7th Sunday after Pentecost / Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils (July 26th):
For the 8th Sunday after Pentecost / Prophet Elijah (August 2nd):
For the 9th Sunday after Pentecost / Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon (August 9th):
Archpriest John Whiteford