Daily Prayer

I know that in the EOC, they have a prayer book which they use for Morning and Evening Prayer at home.  Does the Coptic church have a similar practice and what book is used?  I have a copy of the Agpia--is this what is used for personal prayer?  Or is there another?  Thanks in advance for you time and attention.  (BTW, moderators, if this is not posted in the appropriate place, please move it for me--thanks.)


  • Yes, the Agpia is the "Book of the Hours" where we pray the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th, 11th, and 12th hours and Midnight Praise.
  • Are all the hours generally prayed at home or just certain ones?  Are there some hours that are given preference or prominence rather than others?  Are all the Psalms listed used every time a certain hour is prayed?  Sorry to be so full of questions.
  • You will find the Eastern Orthodox equivalent of the Agpiya is the Great Horologion (Book of Hours) which includes Vespers, Matins, the Hours, Compline, and Midnight Office as the Coptic prayer book has as well. The Coptic Hours use more Psalms. I believe one can pray all the Coptic Hours at home as is the same way the Eastern Orthodox Hours can be prayed at home.
  • here it is, in english

    i personally rarely pray all the hours as it takes me 3-4 hours to do them all and i only have this much time when i am on annual leave!
    everyone is a bit different, most coptic people use them as a guide to personal prayer and pray a little agpeya and a little spontaneous prayer every day, and a little Bible study.

    some people have memorised them and say them quickly while walking to work etc. i can't do them quickly, i would rather recite fewer prayers and meditate on their meaning than try to quickly do all of them without being really aware what i am saying.

    in addition, we use the 3rd and 6th hours at the beginning of the liturgy. we don't each read all the psalms that go with each hour, instead those serving at the altar go around the congregation and tell each person which psalms to read, as the Holy Spirit guides them.

    we use the evening one(s) depending on the time of the day in evening services. when done publically one prayer hour takes about 15 mins, again not every psalm is prayed each time.

    in the films of the saints, i see the monks pray all the hours and all the psalms from memory. we see this as some kind of ideal that few of us (well, not me anyway!) expect to achieve in our lifetime.

    i love the agpeya so much. also most published books have prayers at the back for before and after communion and confession and other prayers.

    please share with us more about the eastern orthodox hours  :) and may God guide us all as we seek closer unity with Him in our prayers.
  • The Horologion bears great similarity to the Agpia.  Several of them can be found online for comparison.  (one example:  http://orthodox.seasidehosting.st/seaside/small_compline?_s=vLAomw1YNWhm3EZS&_k=h1353RiN)  Generally, I do not believe that many people outside a monastic setting actually "Pray the Hours" as such.

    However, the "Morning Prayers" and "Evening Prayers" are generally found in a prayer book and while they are similar in some ways (e.g., they have some of the same prayers) to the Hours, they are generally shorter and intended for praying at home.  (an example:  http://www.holy-trinity-church.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=133&Itemid=145)

    I hope this is helpful.  Now my question may be clearer:  does the Coptic Church have anything comparable to the Evening (or/and Morning) Prayers that is used each day?  Or is the Agpia generally utilized in this way?

    BTW:  Just FYI:  I am not EO.  I have been studying and seeking for several years.  I am a Protestant minister.  So I have some knowledge of EO but very little.  Maybe I should do an introduction at some point.
  • Well it's good to hear that cominghome. But please realize that we, as Coptic Orthodox Church, are not not one of the Eastern Orthodox. We are the on the six "Oriental" Orthodox Churches. We are the closest to the Eastern Orthodox Churches, to the point that we are awaiting union with them soon.

    I just wanted to clear that up because it might gets confusing.
  • Thank you for your help.  I am aware of the difference between OO and EO but as you said I look for the union of the two one day soon--let it be, O Lord.

  • [quote author=mabsoota link=topic=8308.msg106070#msg106070 date=1252232385]
    i love the agpeya so much. also most published books have prayers at the back for before and after communion and confession and other prayers.

    Many Eastern Orthodox prayer books also contain preparation prayers for Communion. The two I have do. The prayer book I use which is an Old Rite Orthodox prayer book contains morning and evening prayers along with the Hours, a couple canons, and pre and post communion prayers. I do really love how the Coptic Hours are set up since the majority of the service is readings from the Psalter which I think is great. I use the Agpeya every once in a while.

    please share with us more about the eastern orthodox hours  :)

    Cominghome posted a good link to the online Horologion and Psalter which is a copy of the Horologion and Psalter that was translated by the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston which I think has really nice translations. All the services are listed here: http://orthodox.seasidehosting.st/seaside/hourly_services. In the Eastern Orthodox services you have the set parts of the services which are never changed and are always the same which are found in the Horologion but there are the parts of the services that are moveable. In all the Hours and Compline, the troparia and kontakion for the Saint of the day are sung/read which changes everyday and then with Vespers and Matins, it's a little more complicated because it incorporates more hymns from the Menaion (fixed cycle of services for each day of the year) and the Octoechos (contains the variable texts for the eight tones). A lot of liturgical books are used in the Eastern Orthodox tradition and it is confusing sometimes but one gets the hang of understanding the way they work. During Lent, we use a book called the Lenten Triodion which contains the texts for the services of the pre-Lenten weeks and all through Lent and Holy Week and then during Pascha until Pentecost the Pentecostarion is used which has the same concept as the Triodion does.

    So, the Hours can be easily done at home since the only movable part of the service is the daily troparia and kontakion but with Matins and Vespers, you pretty much need the Menaion for the hymns of the day. I don't know how it works in Coptic liturgics. It seems all the services are pretty standard are easy to recite just as is without movable parts. I have not seen in it a place where it says "insert daily hymn to the Saint here" for instance. Unless things are done differently when praying in the church. Does the Coptic Church have anything like the Menaion or anything similar to the other books I've listed above? Are there movable parts to the services like in the Eastern Orthodox tradition?

    and may God guide us all as we seek closer unity with Him in our prayers.


  • thanks guys for the info. i will try to answer your questions.
    firstly, hi, coming home, nice to have you on tasbeha.org. i also used to be protestant till just over a year ago. actually i started regularly visiting coptic churches 4 years ago, but with various things (including several house-moves) i did not join until last year. i still have many close protestant friends and i encourage the orthodox to take note of what is good in many of the protestant churches (evangelism, being honest about your doubts and talking about your spiritual life when you meet outside of church etc).
    i tell my protestant and catholic friends about the fullness of the orthodox church and the great Bible knowledge of the many copts I know. so please feel free to contribute and ask questions, i have made friends on this site, we try to help!

    the agpeya (transliteration from coptic differs in different sources) is used as the morning and evening prayers, just not all the psalms are read, as i said in my post. i really like praying the midnight prayers when i get a break when i am doing night shifts.

    andrew, we copts have different seasons in the church and many saints' days. usually this only changes a few parts of the liturgy and a few hymns that can be added after praying the canonical hours. most people don't change what they pray at home. i expect some really devout person will add that they do, but most ordinary copts like me only follow the major feasts (of which there are many!) for example, during all the services that fall during st mary's fast (2 weeks prior to 22nd august) the same extra hymns are added.
    you won't find this in the service-book, however; there are extra books for hymns and other extra parts of the service. i only really know the passion week (before holy pascha) hymns, i think they are the best, esp 'thoak ta te gom' which sings to Jesus 'yours in the power and the glory and the blessing and the majesty' etc.
    the book for passion week is very big and heavy! i'm sure there are many people on this site who can answer this better!
  • Thanks, mabsoota, that is what I have been wanting to know.  Thanks everyone for you helpful input.  Pray for me a sinner.
  • hey, you already sound orthodox!
    thanks for the links. the prayers have many similarities with ours.
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