Orthodox Prayer Books

A Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians
Translated from the Greek by the Holy Transfiguation Monastery

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.

Reviewed by "Byzantine Rambler"

Jordanville Prayer Book

While not necessarilythe first, one of the recognized early classic prayer books is the Prayer Book of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. This volume includes the complete morning and evening ‘personal’ prayers, as well as excerpts from Matins, Vespers, the people’s text of the Divine Liturgy, and Troparia for each day of the week and all the important Feast Days of the Church Year. In addition, Akathists and Canons to our Lord, the Theotokos, and the complete preparatory prayers and Canon for Holy Communion and Thanksgiving After Holy Communion are included.

The older editions of this highly influential collection featured a sturdy hard cover with etched decoration. I've had my copy since the 1970s and though the pages have yellowed, it has held up quite nicely. Somewhere along the way the text of the prayers were tweaked and the original translation of the psalms was replaced with the Psalter According to the Seventy from Holy Transfiguration Monastery. The newer edition also includes a section on Christian living and etiquette in Church. The newer edition's cover is somewhat fancier and the page edges are gilded.

The Jordanville Prayer Book uses classical English (Thee, thou, shalt, etc.), which may not suit everyone, but certain traditional phrasings familiar to almost everyone in the English-speaking Orthodox and Greek Catholic world originate from this volume. For those wishing to check it out before ordering, the original text is fully available online at two locations, Myriobiblos in Greece and St Mary of Egypt parish in Atlanta.
Reviewed by "Byzantine Rambler"

Publican's Prayer Book

For a modern English equivalent to the Jordanville Prayer Book, one can use the recently-published Publicans Prayer Book from Sophia Press. Indeed, the Publicans Prayer Book is, to some extent, a Melkite version of the Jordanville Prayer Book. The complete morning and bed-time prayers seem to be modern English updates of the Jordanville originals. However, there are significant and welcomed differences.

While omitting the ‘public’ liturgical material found in the Jordanville volume, the Publicans Prayer Book packs in a complete Menologion, with Troparia for every day of the year, including the common Troparia for saints not having their own Troparion. It also features complete preparatory prayers and Canons for Holy Communion and Confession, Prayers and Canons for various needs, and a collection of quotations from the Church Fathers and much more. The appendices includes topics on the Christian home, fasting practices and aids for living the spirigual life.

The Publicans Prayer Books is an astounding accomplishment. In the past, Sophia Press publications have been plagued by typographical errors. This volume is beautifully presented with no typos found. The binding is sturdy, appearing to be sewn, with a burgundy leather cover, gilded-edged pages and five ribbons for place marking. The pages themselves are sturdy, slightly cream coloured, with a red border. Prayer text is nicely sized in a pleasing font, with rubrics and instructions in red. Here and there iconic images grace the pages.

With only one intercession for the Pope, the Publicans Prayer Book could serve quite well for Orthodox Christians as well as Melkites and Eastern Catholics. Indeed, the Publican's Prayer Book may prove to be the twenty-first century's main competition to the Jordanville Prayer Book in the hearts of many. I only hope that Sophia Press not limit its publication to a single run as this book has enduring potential - and I'm not saying that only because it was published by my Eparchy's publication arm.
Reviewed by "Byzantine Rambler"

A Pocket Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians

A Pocket Prayer Bookfor Orthodox Christians, nicknamed by many in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese as "Chairman Philip's Little Red Book", (although it is also available in a black cover) has been a best seller for well over forty years. It is a basic collection of morning, evening, and daily prayers for various occasions. It includes the text of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (as used in the Antiochian Archdiocese), with preparatory prayers for Confession and Communion, thanksgiving prayers after Communion. A supplemental section of "prayers for various occasions" provides the Trisagion Prayers of Mercy, and the inclusion of various priestly prayers has ensured that the volume is almost always somewhere about the person of many priests and deacons. The language is classical Church English.

The Pocket Prayer Book is usually available in three covers. The most commonly seen is a basic red, sometimes with a textured pattern. Two vinyl cover options allow red or black (as noted above). While the font size is small, it has changed little since the old days of typesetting and so is surprisingly readable. The size, format and price of the Pocket Prayer Book make it an affordable book to own and take along, as well as a nice gift or "stocking stuffer".
Reviewed by "Byzantine Rambler"

Orthodox Daily Prayers

Orthodox Daily Prayers is published by St Tikhon Seminary Press. In many ways, this volume is a compromise between the Jordanville and Holy Transfiguration Monastery approaches to prayer books. The collection of morning and evening prayers are those found in the Jordanville and Publicans prayer books. Yet here we also find Little Compline and the Three Canons as well as Communion.

Orthodox Daily Prayers is more of a small paperback than a 'pocket' book. Somewhat larger than A Book for Prayer, the text is tight but readable. Not just in classical English, but copyrighted Revised Liturgical English, it is useful and not overly expensive.

I would note that while the psalm texts are nice, they reflect a forthcoming new edition. To my mind, it would have made a better book to use the Holy Transfiguration Psalter - but that's just my opinion.
Reviewed by "Byzantine Rambler"

My Orthodox Prayer Book by Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Religious Education
The popular pocket-sized prayer book is intended for both personal and family devotions. This book of new and traditional prayers features a fresh format and contemporary language. Also offers clear direction about prayer, Bible Studies, Confession and Holy Communion. Encourages one to pray and to grow in prayer

My Daily Orthodox Prayer Book by Anthony Coniaris Light and Life Publishing
Here are pages of classic Orthodox prayers for every occasion and need. Through the centuries the Holy Spirit has inspired countless Church Fathers and saints to compose magnificent prayers that are now readily available for personal or family use in this handy pocket-size volume. Includes sections on Praying the Daily Hours; Preparation for Confession; Prayers Before and After Communion; Establishing a Daily Rule of Prayer; Morning and Evening Prayers; Prayers for Children,; the Little Compline; Prayers for the Sick and the Departed; Prayers from the Akathist Hymn to the Sweetest Lord Jesus; Prayers of Praise; Prayers for Married Persons, Prayers in Time of Trouble, etc.

An Introduction to The Divine Liturgy and Prayers for the Young Child
by Fr. T. Lozynsky
A beautifully color-illustrated prayer book for children. Includes a presentation page for gift-giving.

Guardian Angel Children's Prayer book
by Fr. T. Lozynsky
A beautifully color-illustrated prayer book for children. Includes a presentation page for gift-giving.

My Prayer Book (English)
62 full color pages. Hardcover, large size (A4, 8.2x11.4 inches 21x29 cm) and are printed in full, vibrant color on the finest paper in Greece.
Also available in Greek
Why do we pray?
An essential part of our life as an Orthodox Christian is communication with God. He speaks to us through the Church, the Holy Tradition and the Holy Scriptures, while we speak to Him through prayer.
But what is prayer?
Prayer is a way unique to man, the only way, to communicate and enter in a personal relationship with God, His saints, and the Theotokos. Prayer fills our life with matchless joy. It fills our soul, and the world around us with peace and serenity.
How do we pray?
Through this lavishly illustrated book, we learn to participate in the prayers of the Orthodox Church. With illustrated prayers and theological explanations, children can participate in the beautiful prayers of the Church.

Prayer Booklet (pdf)
A nice prayer booklet for youth compiled by the youth department of the OCA - pdf file

Complete listing of Prayer Books on Orthodoxwiki

A Listing of Suggested Prayer Books

Online Prayer Books

My Prayer Book - Attendent of Priestmonk Spyridon, New Skiti, Mount Athos

Myriobiblos Online Prayer Book

Orthodox Prayers, compiled by OCF
A comprehensive online selection of Orthodox prayers from the rich Tradition of our Church.