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The Euchologion (Greek: εὐχολόγιον; Slavonic: Молитвословъ, Molitvoslov ; Romanian : Euhologiu/Molitfelnic) is one of the chief liturgical books of the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches, containing the portions of the services which are said by the bishop, priest, or deacon (it roughly corresponds to the Roman Rite's Missal, Ritual, and Pontifical, combined). There are several different volumes of the book in use.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Church Slavonic language Liturgical language of the Orthodox Church in Slavic countries

Church Slavonic, also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative Slavic sacred language used by the Orthodox Church in Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia. The language appears also in the services of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese and occasionally in the services of the Orthodox Church in America. It was also used by the Orthodox Churches in Romanian lands until the late 17th and early 18th centuries as well as by Roman Catholic Croats in the Early Middle Ages. It is also co-used by Greek Catholic Churches, which are under Roman communion, in Slavic countries, for example the Croatian, Slovak and Ruthenian Greek Catholics, as well as by the Roman Catholic Church.

Romanian language Romance language

Romanian is an Eastern Romance language spoken by approximately 24–26 million people as a native language, primarily in Romania and Moldova, and by another 4 million people as a second language. It is an official and national language of each of Romania and Moldova. In addition, it is also one of the official languages of the European Union.


The comprehensive version is called the Great Euchologion (Greek: Εὐχολόγιον τό μέγα, Euchológion to méga; Slavonic: Болшой Іерейскій Молитвословъ, Bolshói Ieréisky Molitvoslóv; Romanian: Arhieraticon), and contains the following:

Vespers sunset evening prayer service in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours

Vespers is a sunset evening prayer service in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours. The word comes from the Greek ἑσπέρα ("hespera") and the Latin vesper, meaning "evening". It is also referred to in the Anglican tradition as evening prayer or evensong. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe evening services.

In the Byzantine Rite of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches, Orthros (Greek or Oútrenya is the last of the four night offices, which also include vespers, compline, and midnight office. In traditional monasteries it is held daily so as to end at sunrise. In many parishes it is held only on Sundays and feast days. It is often called matins after the office it most nearly corresponds to in Western Christian churches.

Divine Liturgy Rite practiced in Eastern Christian traditions

Divine Liturgy or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Greek Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.

(For a full description of the contents and order of the Great Euchologion, see below, under Content)

The other books contain only portions of the Great Euchologion:


A server holding the Archieratikon for the Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow Inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev, 7 May 2008-12.jpg
A server holding the Archieratikon for the Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow

The Euchologion contains first, directions for the deacon at the Vespers, Matins, and Divine Liturgy. The priest's prayers and the deacon's litanies for Vespers and Matins follow. Then come the Liturgies (Eucharist): first, rubrics for the Divine Liturgy in general, and a long note about the arrangement of the prosphora (breads) at the Proskomide (Liturgy of Preparation). The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is the frame into which the other Liturgies are fitted. The Euchologion contains only the parts of priest and deacon in full length, first for the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, then for those parts of Liturgy of St. Basil that differ from it; then the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, beginning with the Hesperinon (Vespers) that always precedes it.

Matins is a canonical hour of Christian liturgy.

Eucharist Christian rite

The Eucharist is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper; giving his disciples bread and wine during the Passover meal, Jesus commanded his followers to "do this in memory of me" while referring to the bread as "my body" and the cup of wine as "the new covenant in my blood". Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember both Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross and his commission of the apostles at the Last Supper.

Prosphora food

A prosphoron is a small loaf of leavened bread used in Orthodox Christian and Greek Catholic (Byzantine) liturgies. The plural form is prosphora (πρόσφορα). The term originally meant any offering made to a temple, but in Orthodox Christianity it has come to mean specifically the bread offered at the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist).

After the Liturgies follow a collection of the Sacred Mysteries (sacraments and sacramentals) with various rules, canons, and blessings. First the rite of churching the mother after child-birth (euchai eis gynaika lecho), adapted for various conditions, then certain "Canons of the Apostles and Fathers" regarding Baptism, prayers to be said over Catechumens, the Rite of Baptism, followed by the ablution (apolousis) of the child, seven days later; Exorcisms of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom, and the Rite of Consecrating Chrism (myron) on Holy Thursday. Then follow the Ordination services for deacon, priest, and bishop (there is a second rite of ordaining bishops "according to the exposition of the most holy Lord Metrophanes, Metropolitan of Nyssa"), the blessing of a hegumenos (abbot) and of other superiors of monasteries, a prayer for those who begin to serve in the Church, and the rites for minor orders (reader, chanter, and subdeacon).

Canon law is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law, or operational policy, governing the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the individual national churches within the Anglican Communion. The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was originally a rule adopted by a church council; these canons formed the foundation of canon law.

Churching of women

In Christian tradition the Churching of Women is the ceremony wherein a blessing is given to mothers after recovery from childbirth. The ceremony includes thanksgiving for the woman's survival of childbirth, and is performed even when the child is stillborn, or has died unbaptized.

Baptism Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water

Baptism is a Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. The synoptic gospels recount that John the Baptist baptised Jesus. Baptism is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. Baptism is also called christening, although some reserve the word "christening" for the baptism of infants. It has also given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations.

The ceremonies for tonsuring monks or nuns come next, the appointing of a priest to be confessor (pneumatikos) and the manner of hearing confession, prayers to be said over persons who take a solemn oath, for those who incur canonical punishments, and for those who are absolved from them.

Tonsure hairstyle

Tonsure is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp, as a sign of religious devotion or humility. The term originates from the Latin word tōnsūra and referred to a specific practice in medieval Catholicism, abandoned by papal order in 1972. Tonsure can also refer to the secular practice of shaving all or part of the scalp to show support or sympathy, or to designate mourning. Current usage more generally refers to cutting or shaving for monks, devotees, or mystics of any religion as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem.

Confession (religion) acknowledgment of ones sins

Confession, in many religions, is the acknowledgment of one's sins (sinfulness) or wrongs.

Then comes a collection of prayers for various necessities. A long hymn to Our Lady for "forgiveness of sins", written by a monk, Euthymius, follows, and we come to the rites of betrothal, marriage (called the "crowning", Stephanoma, from the most striking feature of the ceremony), the prayers for taking off the crowns eight days later, the rite of second marriages (called "digamy", digamia, in which the persons are not crowned), and the very long unction of the sick (to agion elaion), prescribed to be performed by seven priests.

Marriage Social union or legal contract between people called spouses that creates kinship

Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. The definition of marriage varies around the world not only between cultures and between religions, but also throughout the history of any given culture and religion, evolving to both expand and constrict in who and what is encompassed, but typically it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged or sanctioned. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal. Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that "Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses."

Next, consecrations for new churches and antimensia (the corporal containing relics used for the Divine Liturgy; it is really a kind of portable altar), the ceremony of washing the altar on Holy Thursday, erection of a Stauropegion (a monastery that is exempt from the control of the local bishop, being instead subject directly to the Patriarch or Synod of Bishops), the Lesser Blessing of Waters (hagiasmos), and the Great Blessing of Waters (used on Theophany), followed by a sacramental which consists of bathing (nipter) afterwards.

After one or two more ceremonies, such as a rite of the Kneeling Prayer (gonyklisis) on the evening of Pentecost, exorcisms, prayers for the sick and dying, come the distinct burial services used for laymen, monks, priests, children and any burial occurring during Bright Week. Then follows a miscellaneous collection of prayers and hymns (marked euchai diaphoroi), Canons of penance, against earthquakes, in time of pestilence, and war, and two addressed to the Theotokos. More prayers for various occasions end the book.

In modern Euchologia, however, it is usual to add the "Apostles" (the readings from the Epistles) and Gospels for the Great Feasts (these are taken from the two books that contain the whole collection of liturgical lessons), and lastly the arrangement of the court of the Ecumenical Patriarch, with rubrical directions for their various duties during the Liturgy.

Thus the Euchologion is the handbook for bishops, priests, and deacons. It contains only the short responses of the choir, who have their own choir-books (Horologion for the fixed portions of the services, and the Triodion, Pentecostarion, Octoechos and Menaion for the propers).


The most ancient document of the Rite of Constantinople (which is similar to the Antiochene Rite) is the Barberini Euchologion (gr.336), a Greek manuscript written around 790 A.D. [1]

The first printed edition was published at Venice in 1526. This was followed by another, also in Venice, in 1638 of the Euchologion used by Jacques Goar for his edition. Another edition was published at Venice in 1862, which forms the basis of the current edition of the Great Euchologion, such as that published by Astir at Athens in 1970. The text in the Venetian edition of 1862 was the basis of the edition published in Bucharest in 1703. The 7th edition, edited by Spiridion Zerbos, was printed in 1898 at the Phoenix press (typographeion ho Phoinix) at Venice, the official Greek Orthodox printing house.

The Orthodox Churches that use other liturgical languages have presses (generally at the capital of the country, Moscow, Bucharest, Jerusalem) for their translations. The Euchologion was first translated into Church Slavonic in the 9th century. The definitive version of the Euchologion used in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was prepared by Peter Mohyla, and published in 1646 (republished in Paris, 1988). This edition contains some 20 rituals that were of local origin and are not performed in other Eastern churches (e.g., services for the uncovering of holy relics and for the blessing of monasteries).

Provost Alexios Maltzew of the Russian Embassy Church at Berlin edited the Euchologion in Old Slavonic and German with notes (Vienna, 1861, reprinted at Berlin, 1892).

A complete Euchologion, in several volumes, was printed in Moscow by the Synodal Press in 1902.

Greek-Catholics use the Propaganda edition and have a compendium (mikron euchologion) containing only the Liturgies, Apostles and Gospels, baptism, marriage, unction, and confession (Rome, 1872). J. Goar, O. P., edited the Euchologion with very complete notes, explanations, and illustrations (Euchologion, sive Rituale Græcorum, 2nd ed., Venice, fol., 1720), which became the standard work of reference for Byzantine Rite Catholics.

Oriental Orthodox

Euchologia are also found among the Coptic, Armenian and East Syrian Churches, which differ from the Byzantine. The Euchologion of Bishop Serapion, a contemporary of St. Athanasius (c.293 – 373), contains texts from the Alexandrian Rite. [2]


  1. E. Whitaker, M. Johnson, Documents of the Baptismal Liturgy (Liturgical Press, 2003), ISBN   0-8146-6200-5, p. 109.
  2. Louis Duchesne, Christian Worship: Its Origin and Evolution (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1903), p. 75.

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