Thursday, April 30, 2020

Reader Services Through Ascension

The Eves

For Saturday Night and the Eves of the various Feasts, you could ideally do the Vigil. The fixed portions can be downloaded here:

or viewed in HTML, here:

The variable portions of the service can be downloaded here (all of these would be served on the eve of their respective days):

For the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers (May 3rd):

For the Sunday of the Paralytic (May 10th):

For Mid-Pentecost (May 13):

For the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman (May 17th):

For the Sunday of the Blind Man (May 24th) & Ss. Cyril and Methodius :

For the Apodosis of Pascha (May 26th):

For the Feast of the Ascension:

However, if doing Vigil is too much for you at present, you could do Small Compline, and take t he 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 Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers (May 3rd):

For the Sunday of the Paralytic (May 10th):

For Mid-Pentecost (May 13):

For the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman (May 17th):

For the Sunday of the Blind Man & Ss. Cyril and Methodius (May 24th):

For the Apodosis of Pascha (May 26th):

For the Feast of the Ascension:

Friday, April 24, 2020

Stump the Priest: The Reserved Sacrament

A Communion Set for bringing Communion to the Sick

Question: "With access to services being limited due to the Coronavirus lockdown, we have been told that we can be given communion from the Reserved Sacrament, but this is something I know almost nothing about. Is there some form of prayer or other service used when receiving communion in this way? How should I prepare or fast? Are there differences that may be applicable if one is healthy and receiving or ill? What exactly is the Reserved Sacrament? Does include the Blood or is it just the Body?"

What is the Reserved Sacrament?

The Reserved Sacrament is very similar to the Eucharist that the faithful partake of at the Presanctified Liturgy. The Presanctified Eucharist is prepared at a regular Liturgy. An additional Lamb (the Eucharistic Bread to be consecrated at the Liturgy) is prepared for each Presanctified Liturgy that will be celebrated in the coming week. Before the clergy commune, they take these Lambs, and they are intinctured, which means that the priest takes the spoon and carefully pours small amounts of the consecrated Blood on the Lamb, and then this is placed into an artophorion (αρτοφοριον, which literally means a "bread bearer").

An Artophorion similar to the one we have in our parish.

An artophorion is designed to allow the Presanctified Eucharist to dry, without it drying too much. The Reserved Sacrament is prepared in exactly the same way, but it is not immediately placed into an artophorion or a tabernacle (which is a larger container, that is normally kept on the altar year round).

A Tabernacle

How is the Reserved Sacrament Prepared

Ideally, the Reserved Sacrament is prepared on Holy Thursday (which commemorates the Mystical Supper and the Establishment of the Eucharist by Christ), but it can be prepared at any full Liturgy. The difference between preparing the Reserved Sacrament and what is done with a Presanctified Lamb, is that rather than putting the whole Lamb into an artophorion, after the Liturgy is concluded, the priest cuts this Lamb into pieces appropriate for communion people. Some priests simply leave this in a diskos that is covered, and allow it to dry in that way. Our service books tell us to heat these particles so that they are completely dry.

The service book does not spell out exactly how this is to be done, beyond saying that a brick is to be placed on the Antimins, and that the particles are to be heated over burning coals, stirred regularly, and removed from the heat, and then returned to the heat as many times as is necessary to dry them thoroughly, but without burning them.

There may be a better method of doing it than the one I came up with, but what I did was to take a tin coffee can, with the bottom removed (the can needs to be a bit wider than the brick, for the air to flow properly). I took a pair of pliers to put crimps along the top, to allow the flow of air, and then used a ceramic bowl, which with sand in the bottom of it (in order to elevate the coals), and so those parts are arranged as is seen in this picture:

I then place the bottom of a larger tin coffee can on top of that, which then allowed me to place a liturgical plate on top on top of it, which looks like this:

The liturgical plate with the Reserved Sacrament is placed on it, and stirred.

 I found doing it with about 5 minutes on, followed by 5 minutes off, and repeating this for about 30 to 40 minutes, worked well. This allowed me to use two plates, and to rotate them. The particles were constantly stirred with the liturgical spear, while over the heat.

In the Tabernacle, there is a drawer that slides out, into which these particles are to be placed. The service books say that if the material of the tabernacle is not gold or silver, it should be lined with paper. Ours is gold plated on the outside, but not inside of the drawer, and so I use a large index card, and cut it to line the drawer, and then placed these particles in it -- after, of course, allowing them to cool down and to air on a covered diskos for about a day.

How is the Reserved Sacrament Brought to People?

Normally, the Reserved Sacrament is used to commune people who are too sick to come to Church, but it is also used to commune people who cannot come to Church for other reasons. For example, it is used to bring communion to prisoners who do not have access to a liturgy in prison. There are Communion sets specifically designed for this purpose.

A communion set similar to one of the sets that we use in our parish.

These sets have a container sufficient to hold as many portions of the Eucharist as will be needed, a small spoon, and a small chalice. Often, they also have a container that can hold some communion wine. This set is further placed into a pouch of some sort that the priest can carry around his neck.

How Should Someone Prepare to Receive the Reserved Sacrament?

Normally, you should prepare in the same way that you would when you are preparing to receive communion at a regular Liturgy. If someone is sick, obviously, their ability to fast may be limited or non-existent. Also, if someone was near death, there would be no time for them to do pre-communion prayers, at least not at any great length. You should also prepare for confession.

What Happens When the Priest Arrives?

The first thing I do, is to find a sturdy table that I can place the holy things on. Often, this is the family dining table. I lay out one communion cloth on the table, and then open up the Communion Set, pour some wine into the chalice (this wine is not consecrated), and then place the portions of the Eucharist into the chalice that will be necessary to commune those present. Doing this first allows time for these portions to soak in the wine, so that they will be soft by the time Communion is given. While the wine poured into the chalice is not consecrated, the reason why there was an intincturing when preparing the Reserved Sacrament was so that both the Body and the Blood would be in the Reserved Sacrament.

I then hear the confessions of those who will be communed. Then, we use the service of "The Office When in Extreme Urgency Occasion Arises To Give Communion to a Sick Person," If there are other people present, I will ask them to hold the Communion Cloth under the chin of the person who is being communed. Communion is given to those who have prepared, the services is concluded, and then I cleanse the chalice, and put things away. Those who have communed can say the prayers of Thanksgiving right away, or after the priest leaves, but they should say it one way or another, unless they are too ill to do so. If someone is too ill to read prayers, someone can read the prayers aloud for them to hear.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Reader Services: St. Thomas Sunday and Radonitsa

For those still unable to attend services, here are some reader service options for the coming week.

For Saturday Night, you could ideally do the Vigil. The fixed portions can be downloaded here:

or viewed in HTML, here:

The variable portions of the service can be downloaded here:

However, if doing Vigil is too much for you at present, you could do Small Compline, with the Canon:

On Sunday, you can do Typika.

You can find the fixed portions here:

Or in Word Format, here:

The variable portions are posted here:

Or you can download the Typika text with everything, including the Scripture readings, here:

On Radonitsa, which this year is Tuesday, April 28th, you can do the Akathist for the Repose of the Departed:

This Akathist is also found in Volume 1 of the Book of Akathists from Holy Trinity Monastery.

And do that as part of the Rule of St. Pachomius, inserting it where the rule calls for 100 Jesus Prayers.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Holy Week at Home, Part 2

The following is a continuation of Holy Week at Home, Part 1. This concludes the most important services of Holy Week that can be done as reader services.

You will also find a lot of answers to practical questions about how to do reader services on the Reader Service Horologion Page.

On Holy Saturday morning (April 18th):

You can do the 3rd, 6th, and 9th Hour, for Holy Saturday:

Followed immediately by Typika and Vespers for Holy Saturday:

Alternatively, you could just read the Holy Saturday Old Testament Readings:

On Holy Saturday afternoon, or evening, you could read through the book of Acts, which is what is appointed by the Typikon.

At about 11:30 p.m. on Holy Saturday, you would do the Midnight Office:

The Midnight Office is the last service of the Triodion, and we then immediately begin the services of Pascha. Paschal Matins is served at approximately 12:00 a.m., April 19th:

Then you do the Paschal Hours. If you were doing what the Typikon calls for, you would do this service three times, for the 1st, 3rd, and 6th hours. In parish practice, it is usually only done once.

During Bright Week, the Paschal Hours are what we do for our morning and evening prayers. For more on how they can be sung, see:

And then, in the place of the Paschal Liturgy, we do Typika:

The above order of Typika incorporates the Festal Antiphons, and so is a bit more like the Paschal Liturgy. Fr. George Lardas has also put together the Typika according to the order found in the Slavonic Great Horologion, and he provides it in various languages, and combinations of languages:

On the Afternoon of Pascha, you can serve the Agape Vespers:

If doing the other Paschal services is too much, Typika is fairly simple, and the Paschal Hours are also short and simple, so you should at least do those services.

Update: If you prefer ePub format, some of the above services have been converted to that format, and are available here:

Update 2: The Carpatho-Russian Diocese has a document that has some useful ideas for doing Holy Week at home, especially with children. It also has some icons at the end that with a color printer could be very useful for the services:

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Holy Week at Home, Part 1

For the benefit of the many Orthodox Christians who will find themselves unable to attend Holy Week services in person, I am presenting reader service options. This is part 1. In part 2, I will post Holy Saturday Vespers, the Midnight Office for Pascha, Paschal Matins, the Paschal Hours, and Paschal Typika.

Lazarus Saturday Eve (Friday April 10th):

For those who want to do the service as it is appointed, here is the text for the Matins of Lazarus Saturday:

If you are unfamiliar with what a Kathisma is, it is a section of the Psalter. There are 20 of them, and this is a chart that explains which are done when. If you have a liturgical Psalter, these Kathismas will be properly notated.

In parish practice, instead of the 2 or 3 Kathismas that are appointed, usually, only one is done, and that Kathisma is usually abbreviated to consist of one psalm per stasis (each Kathisma having 3 of them). This is a chart with suggestions on which psalms to use, based on the tone of the week:

Technically, Holy Week does not have a tone, but what I have always done is continue with the sequence of tones through Holy Week, and so on Lazarus Saturday this year, you would use the selections for tone 1, but beginning with Palm Sunday, and through the rest of the week, it would be the selections for tone 2.

If you don't have a liturgical Psalter, or if you think your kids will not be able to make it through a longer service, you can skip the Kathismas entirely.

Also, if doing Matins is more than you want to attempt, here is Small Compline, with the Matins canon inserted, so that you can get the meat of that service, in a much shorter and more simple service:

For Lazarus Saturday morning, April 11th, here is the text of Typika:

Palm Sunday Eve (Saturday April 11th):

Here is the Vigil for Palm Sunday:

For a more simple service, here is Small Compline with the Palm Sunday canon:

For Palm Sunday morning, April 12th, here is the text of Typika:

For Palm Sunday Evening, April 12th, here is the text of Vespers:

Holy Monday Matins, served on Sunday Evening (April 12th):

For a more simple option, you could do the Akathist to the Passion of Christ, either inserting it into Small Compline, or using the Rule of St. Pachomius, and inserting it where it calls for the Jesus Prayer.

This can be done on Sunday evening, Monday evening, and Tuesday evening.

During the days of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, you could try to read all four Gospels, which is what is done according to the Typikon during the hours, or at least try to read through one of them. The reason we do this liturgically, is because it was on these days that Christ taught in the Temple. In addition to reading the Gospels yourself, you could also listen to them being read by downloading the YouVersion Bible app on your phone, which is free.

Holy Monday Vespers, served on Monday Afternoon or Evening (April 13th):

Holy Tuesday Matins, served on Monday Evening (April 13th):

Holy Tuesday Vespers, served on Tuesday Afternoon or Evening (April 14th):

Holy Wednesday Matins, served on Tuesday Evening (April 14th):

Holy Wednesday Vespers, served on Wednesday Afternoon or Evening (April 15th):

Holy Thursday Matins, served on Wednesday Evening (April 15th):

On the Thursday Morning (April 16th):

You can do the 3rd, 6th, and 9th hours:

Followed immediately by Typika and Vespers:

Alternatively, you could do the Akathist for Holy Communion, as suggested above for the Akathist to the Passion of Christ:

The Service of the Twelve Passion Gospels, served on Thursday evening (April 16th):

If you do not have a Liturgical Gospel Book, the 12 Gospel Readings are laid out here:

If doing the Matins is too much for you, I would suggest you have your family at least read through the 12 Gospel readings. You can also do the Akathist to the Cross, as indicated above:

The Royal Hours of Holy Friday, served in the morning (April 17th):

Vespers for Holy Friday, served in the afternoon (April 17th):

Holy Saturday Matins, served Friday Evening (April 17th):

The above text does not include the text of the actual Lamentations, but the Antiochian Archdiocese provides sheet music, with the text using a translation that is almost identical to what we normally use:

If that service is more than you feel capable of pulling off, you could do the Akathist to the Life Bearing Tomb, as indicated above:

Also, if you can read music, you will find a lot of sheet music for these services here:

Update: If you prefer ePub format, some of the above services have been converted to that format, and are available here:

Update 2: The Carpatho-Russian Diocese has a document that has some useful ideas for doing Holy Week at home, especially with children. It also has some icons at the end that with a color printer could be very useful for the services:

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Reader Services for the Sunday of the Fifth Week, and Annunciation

You can find the fixed and changeable parts for Typika here:

But if you would rather download this Sunday's Typika text, with everything embedded, you will find that here:

Annunciation falls on Tuesday, and Annunciation is one of the more complicated services in the Liturgy Year. If anyone wants to try to put it together, the rubrics are here:

I could also send you the texts (which require combing the Triodion supplement to the texts that normally do not change if the service falls on a weekday during lent) if you contact me.

But for most people, I would suggest that if you are unable to go to Church, on the eve of the feast (Monday night) use this text for Small Compline, which has the Annunciation Canon in it, laid out for lay use:

And then on the morning of the Feast, use this Typika text, which includes the Byzantine Festal Antiphons, which I think adds a nice touch to the service:

Next Week I will post several texts for Holy Week, beginning with Lazarus Saturday.

Another service you can do, whenever you wish, but I would encourage you to do at least once with regard to the situation we are in with the Coronavirus, is a moleben to St. John of Shanghai, which is arranged as a reader service: