As a friend was dropping me off at home after work today, we noticed something odd at the front step: a large white bag of woven plastic fibers, tied closed at around the middle of its height, sitting on my front porch. It having just been Halloween, I suggested that it might be a bag of dog poop, and so my friend helpfully suggested I avoid stomping on it if it spontaneously burst into flame. Fortunately, it was anything but a bag of poop! There was a mailing and customs tag attached to the bag, and I instantly was pleased at thinking what it might be, which indeed it turned out to be.
Last month I had ordered from Apostoliki Diakonia, the publishing arm of the Church of Greece, a copy of the Ōrologion to Mega and a copy of the Systēma Typikou (which no longer appears on the site; perhaps it’s simply sold out). I experienced an error in the middle of the process, so I was almost certain that the order was never received, as I myself never received a confirmation of the order. But all is well, and now I can enjoy these two volumes, along with a nifty little Synekdēmos that arrived the week before last!
For those who don’t know what these books are, the Ōrologion to Mega is “the Great Horologion”—a book containing the main daily liturgical services outside of the Divine Liturgy (which is not generally celebrated daily in the Orthodox Church), such as are common in monasteries especially, but which are becoming more common in large parishes as well. The Systēma Typikou is a typikon, a book describing in outline how various services are composed, which elements follow which, and such matters. The Synekdēmos is very much like a Latin Daily Missal, containing texts of the Divine Liturgies (mine has those of St John Chrysostom, St Basil, and that of Presanctified Gifts), kontakia and troparia of Saints throughout the year, daily prayers, and a selection of smaller services and canons. Very nice!
One of the reasons I’m so happy to have these is that my Greek Orthodox parish is bilingual. While most of the services are largely in English, a large percentage are mostly in Greek, and some few are entirely in Greek. There are not always easily available Greek-English texts for all these various services, for such of us who need them, so I plan to put some together in order to replace decades-old photocopies and such. I did that with the Salutations to the Theotokos services earlier this year, and that was a very useful thing to have, as I coupled the Greek with the Holy Transfiguration Monastery English translation on facing pages. So, that’ll be another pot on the stove….