Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Octoechos

The Octoechos or "the Book of Eight Tones" (lit. "Eight-Tone") is a liturgical book used in the Byzantine Rite.  It is the book of propers for Matins/Orthros and Vespers each day of the week and for Sunday Divine Liturgy.  Its use is roughly equivalent to times of "Ordinary Time" in the Roman Rite: it is the book used when the two movable seasonal books (the Triodion for Great Lent and its preparation and the Pentecostarion for Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost) are not being used.  It is used in conjunction with the Menaion (the book of immovable feasts, such as Nativity, Theophany, Dormition, and saints' feast days) and the Horologion (the book of the basic texts of the Divine Office/the Hours). 

The only free version of the Octoechos I have found on-line is a copy from the Monastery of the Myrrhbearing Women, a women's monastery of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) in Otego, NY, as adapted for Canada and posted as a PDF on the website of the OCA Archdiocese of Canada.  For my own use, I formatted the text to be used on a Kindle (with nested table of contents), and the webmaster of the Archdiocese of Canada graciously gave me permission to post this formatted file so that others may use it.

Below is the link to my AZW3 file (the current Kindle format) of the Octoechos.  The names of the different sections of each hour are those used in the Horologion of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton.  I use the Greek spelling of different liturgical terms (such as sticheron) rather than the Slavonic spelling (stich) just as a personal preference.  If anyone would like this file in another format (such as the older Kindle format or ePub), please let me know via a comment or e-mail, and I will try my best to make it available.

I hope this document is useful for you, and I hope that it leads you deeper into the prayer of the Church through the sublime liturgical poetry of the Hours.

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