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Daily Prayers - and a request

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  • Nikita
    Dear list members, I have a question that I can t find an answer for: I had a conversation with someone earlier today regarding the Morning and Evening Prayers
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 8, 2003
      Dear list members,

      I have a question that I can't find an answer for: I had a conversation with
      someone earlier today regarding the Morning and Evening Prayers that we
      find in our modern prayer books. Historically speaking, these are of a rather
      late composition, and I'd like to know something about their origins.

      In the Old Rite of the Russian Church there were no specific morning and
      evening prayers for laity. In fact, for monastics there are no morning prayers at
      all (apart from attending the Midnight Office), and there were a few bedtime
      prayers for monastics who felt inclined to say them, although the rubrics
      clearly say that this is something that a devout monk may wish to say in
      addition to attending Compline (the general bedtime prayers for the
      community), and he/she is under no obligation to say them. (In modern times
      we now have some prayers, as I will mention further on.)

      The first evidence (which I have been able to find) of special morning and
      evening prayers for laity first seems to come from the early PRINTED Greek
      books, not from the manuscript tradition. And of course these books were
      printed in Venice, where there was a noticable tendency to take on some
      influence from the Roman Church. Thus, if you were to examine the first
      printed Slavonic books (http://sun450.agir.ru/memory/) printed in Prague,
      Kracow, Venice, Vilna, etc., which exhibited a strong western influence well
      before Petr Mogila's time, one can already see that the morning and evening
      prayers (and composed Akathists) were being included. (See the 1547
      Venice Molitvoslov, http://sun450.agir.ru/memory/mol-ven/022o-l.htm; evening
      prayers: http://sun450.agir.ru/memory/mol-ven/079o-l.htm; BTW this book also
      lists the signs of the Zodiac, and it has the entire order of the Liturgy in Greek
      text, but with Slavonic letters: http://sun450.agir.ru/memory/mol-ven/269l-
      l.htm).

      Since the whole concept of special prayers for laity seems to have entered
      Russia rather late (around the time of Patriarch Nikon's re-forms), it is
      interesting to compare how the State Church and the Old Believers have
      resolved this issue. The New Rite basically uses the contemporary Greek
      form of the prayers (the Venetian versions didn't actually seem to catch on
      very well), although the morning and evening prayers were significantly
      expanded by the Kiev Caves Lavra in the 19th century. (It certainly is puzzling
      why the Lavra introduced all those extra lengthy morning prayers before
      having the monks attend the Midnight Office, since it would just add to the
      already burdensome cycle of services. Same for the evening prayers. I can
      understand introducing these prayers for laity who are not attending church,
      but for monks?) As for the Old Believers, we took the basic structure of the
      Pachomian Rule and added a few common prayers to the Theotokos and
      saints, an optional canon or some provision for fulfilling one's penance, then
      the order of forgiveness and an abbreviated form of the Memorial (Pomiannik)
      Prayers from the conclusion of the monastic Cell Rule. Our morning and
      evening prayers are essentially the same, with minor changes for the evening
      form.

      Does anyone have any specific information about where the Morning and
      Evening Prayers came from, when they were introduced, their history, etc.?

      OK, I must run off-topic here, and I ask your forgiveness. Monday morning at
      11:00 Pacific Time I have a very important interview for a job. As a few of you
      may know, I was laid of from my previous job three weeks ago due to the
      company having financial difficulties. Last week I was called in for an
      interview at a local newspaper as a page designer (which is a field of work I
      am well trained in); the interview lasted an hour and 20 minutes and went
      very well. Tomorrow morning I have a second interview with the newspaper
      and it looks promising, but I *earnestly* and urgently ask all of you for your
      prayers. The unemployment rate here in Oregon is the highest in the USA (8
      per cent), and if I don't find work again soon I will be facing serious financial
      problems.

      In XC,
      Nikita
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