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Pew Liturgy Book now online at newbyz.org

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  • Stan Takis
    Dear List Members: One of my biggest projects is now available on our website at http://www.newbyz.org. It’s the Divine Liturgy pew book which corresponds to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 29, 2007
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      Dear List Members:

      One of my biggest projects is now available on our website at
      http://www.newbyz.org It’s the Divine Liturgy pew book which
      corresponds to the music on the website. This book is what I consider
      to be the best existing single resource for bilingual congregational
      chanting in the Sunday liturgy at English-speaking Greek Orthodox
      churches. It contains the text of the liturgy, followed by a hymnal
      that has two settings of the Divine Liturgy, Plagal Fourth (major) and
      Plagal First (minor). It also contains the most frequently-used proper
      hymns. Everything is in side-by-side Greek and English.

      This book is intended to be a replacement for the “Green Book,” the
      liturgy hymnal published by the Archdiocese since the 1970’s. While
      that book filled a need for congregational participation in Greek and
      English, the English versions of the hymns were quite antithetical to
      the principles of Orthodox hymnography. The attempt to haphazardly
      squeeze English words into the established melodies of John
      Sakellarides resulted in poor translations that were almost
      unsingable. In our new book, English texts take two forms, those that
      are carefully metered to the Greek text and can truly follow the model
      melody, and those that retain their own meter with melodies that adapt
      to the new syllabic patterns. In both cases, the English translations
      are carefully made to be accurate and poetic.

      As for the music, it is based upon the traditional system of Byzantine
      music, even if it does not attain the level of accuracy one would
      expect to hear from experienced chanters. Traditionalists may argue
      that only a well-trained Byzantine choir singing true Byzantine music
      should chant the Divine Liturgy, but the fact remains that most Greek
      Orthodox churches in America have lay choirs, and priests who
      encourage the lay congregation to participate vocally in the chanting
      of the hymns. The result over the last 75 years has been music that
      sounds closer to the Catholic and Protestant Christan traditions.
      Without criticizing those who use polyphonic choirs and organs, we
      want to provide a more traditional alternative to be available. This
      book is written to give these lay choirs and congregations a resource
      in familiar staff notation that comes closer to the traditional music
      and is less Western in character.

      This book is meant to be used by congregations in conjunction with the
      materials for choirs found on our website. The liturgy books for the
      choir are in a 3-ring notebook-sized format, and the hymns are
      interspersed with the text of the liturgy. The selection of proper
      hymns is much wider in the choir materials. For the pew book, I had to
      pick what I thought were the most-used hymns to keep the book small
      and all in one volume that would be easy to use by the layman.

      Since we only publish our material on the Web in PDF format, I can
      update this book and correct errors. With that in mind, I ask you to
      look at the book and offer your opinions and criticisms so I can keep
      it up to the highest quality possible.

      It is not difficult to publish this book from the PDF file. The file
      is in legal-sized paper booklet form. When you print it out on 8.5 x
      14 paper, you get the front and back sides of a booklet that assumes
      you will fold the paper in the middle. While there are too many sheets
      (40) to practically fold it in the middle, the PDF should be printed
      on both sides, collated, and then cut in half to be spiral-bound, or,
      if desired, made into a hard-covered volume. The method for doing this
      is as follows:

      In the Adobe Reader program, print the file on legal-sized paper with
      the option of “even pages only.” Then put the sheets back into the
      printer and print the blank sides using the “odd pages only” option.
      If you lined up the paper correctly on the second run, in most
      printers, you should have your booklet in the proper order. Otherwise,
      you may have to adapt the printing process to your particular printer.
      Cut the booklet in half down the middle of the paper and place the
      front part of the book on top of the back part. You are now ready to
      bind the book in the manner you desire.

      We offer this book free of charge to the English-speaking Greek
      Orthodox churches of the world, in the spirit of giving and in service
      to Christ. We hope it will be useful to whomever desires to use it.

      You may access the book at:



      Stan Takis
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