Saint Ignatius Orthodox Press


Anthologion: Anthology of Prayer

Anthologion: Anthology of Prayer


The Anthology of Prayer or Anthologion is an Eastern Orthodox prayer book which for the first time in English incorporates the Book of Hours with a significant selection of fundamental hymns and prayers from the Church's liturgical cycles. This provides the ordinary Christian at home with a form of the rich prayers of the Church in a single, affordable, pocket-sized book, much as the Breviary does for Western Christians.

Why another prayer book?

It is true, there are many prayer books available, with new ones appearing all the time, seemingly tailor-made for virtually every demographic. But we wanted to get back to the basics.

The Church's cycle of daily prayers is for everyone, and pre-dates every prayer book, even the most traditional ones. We know from ancient sources that for large portions of the Church's history, it was expected that everyday Christians would pray the Daily Office at home or at church: Matins, the Hours, and Vespers. But with few parish churches today offering anything close to a daily cycle of services, the serious layman must maintain the prayers at home.

The Book of Hours (Horologion) is available from other publishers, but we have found that none actually incorporate the Church's liturgical cycles into the prayers; rather offering only the basic frameworks. Yet in her wisdom, the Church has found a certain amount of variety is needed to bring richness to the prayers, keeping the Daily Office from becoming stale and difficult to maintain.

The challenge is this:

• No existing single prayer book offers much, if any, variation of the Church's liturgical cycles.
• A complete liturgical library is beyond the means of most ordinary people.

We need something in between these two extremes. And the Church offers it: a book called the Anthologion. Before the rise of cheap publishing in the 15th-16th centuries, many parish churches only owned this single book, which offered an anthology, or simplified selection, of the full body of Church hymns. In modern times this book has fallen out of use, but it is an ideal solution for the ordinary Christian at home.

Essentially similar to the Breviary of Western Christianity, the Anthology of Prayer (Anthologion) is a simplified selection of the Church's liturgical texts, designed so any person willing to put a little effort into learning could maintain the daily cycle of prayers at home, with its fundamental daily variations: the 8-week tone cycle (Octoechos), major feast days (Menaion), and the Lenten and Paschal seasons (Triodion and Pentecostarion).

The Anthology's opportunities can grow along with the individual's own spiritual growth. Perhaps one might begin with just one or two of the Hours per day: they are brief and simple. Over time, one might begin to add other prayers, all within the Church's ancient structure, avoiding too much freedom in a buffet of prayers, or too little freedom in a static set of prayers.

We think The Anthology of Prayer is the golden mean, accessible to all and offering a great amount of flexibility and rich variety for the development of one's prayer life, while keeping traditional and firmly-established borders and frameworks, avoiding the fragmentation of our common prayer that comes about through a great variety of books.

And in an age of pandemics, civil unrest, censorship, and uncertainty, it is a comfort to have the firm foundation of the Church's prayer life at our fingertips. While we might choose to depend on Internet resources, even that is precarious. God only knows what the future holds, but depending on advanced technology to access to the Church's time-tested prayers does not seem ideal.

Our basic desire was to enable the ordinary Christian to carry on a form of the Church's prayers with only a single small book. We think we have accomplished this, with God's help.

Planned Features

The book is still in development and these points are subject to change, but this is our current intention:

• Over 1000 pages of sacred prayers, scriptures, and hymns, comprising the basic bedrock of Orthodox prayer and worship, including the Horologion (Book of Hours), with all Lenten variations for year-round use; the Octoechos (Book of Eight Tones), the daily hymns and prayers of the fundamental 8-week cycle; the General Menaion (Feast day services), hymns and prayers of the yearly cycle; selections from the Triodion and Pentecostarion, hymns and prayers of the Lent-Pascha cycle

• High quality leather-bound softcover with sewn binding

• Two-tone red and black printing with quality readable text

• Four ribbon bookmarks

• Designed for Pan-Orthodox use

• Abundant supporting material and clear instructions — with a little initiative and study, anyone can carry on the prayers of the Church in any circumstances with just a single book

If you are interested in seeing this project come to life, consider supporting our IndieGoGo campaign. Watch this page for pre-order information when we get closer to publication in spring 2021.