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It's very important that prayer ascends from the church. The services of the church sanctify the people, as Christ our God is mystically present regardless of the type of service. Remember, to establish a parish requires much prayer, great sacrifice, and committment from everyone.

While there is a priest on most weekends of the month, there are occassions when he isn't available. On the weekends when there isn't a priest, we always offer a Reader's Service both in Jackson and in Poplar Bluff.

  • The leader of the Reader's Service is appointed by the priest. That person designates others who may assist in reading and chanting. Usually, the services on a Sunday morning take about an hour and fifteen minutes. We encourage everyone to attend.
  • The person leading the Reader's Service must become familiar with the resources needed and set aside some time in order to prepare. Don't wait until the last minute.
  • Parts of the service that are the same every week. But there are also variable parts that change depending on the feast day celebrated, the saints of the day, or where we are in the liturgical year.

If no chanters are available, it's prefectly fine to read the entire service. The words that we say and the atmosphere of prayer are more important.

The booklets are in the Narthex at St. John the Theologian. If more are needed, we can make additional copies. The booklets contain the fixed parts of the services with notes on where the variable parts are to be inserted. There are two booklets:

  • Reader's Service - Sunday Orthros
  • Reader's Service - Typika


There are different ways to construct the variable parts of the services. The easiest way is simply to use the full Orthros printout for the given Sunday, as the printout contains almost all of the variable parts.

Generally, the printouts are available on the Antiochian Archdiocese website about three weeks ahead of the date. Here are the steps for locating the printout:

  1. Go to the Online Liturgical Guide page.
  2. Click the calendar icon to the left of "SELECT DATE."
  3. Click the date of the Sunday you're looking for.
  4. On the right under "DAILY LITURGICAL TEXTS," click "Sunday Orthros (PDF)."
  5. Click "Divine Liturgy Variables (PDF)." You will need that for the Typika Service.
  6. Save these files to the hard drive on your computer.
  7. Print out the services as you will do some markup to prepare.

The Orthros Booklet contains italicized instructions throughout for all of the variable parts. We recommend that you number these and circle the number as you will insert the corresponding marker in the full Orthros printout.

Essentially, you replace the Great and Small Litanites with a specified number of the prayer "Lord, have mercy." Be aware that you will be jumping around quite a bit in the full printout, rather than following it straight through. Here are the varible parts in the booklet, along with the page number:

  1. (p. 10) - Resurrectional Apolytikion
  2. (p. 10) - Kathisma II
  3. (p. 11) - Kathisma III
  4. (p. 12) - Resurrectional Hypakoë
  5. (p. 12) - Resurrectional Anabathmoi
  6. (p. 15) - Kontakion, Oikos, and Synaxarion
  7. (p. 15) - Katavasia
  8. (p. 15) - Heirmoi
  9. (p. 17) - Exaposteilarion and Theotokion 
  10. (p. 19) - Resurrectional Stichera

Then, turn to the Sunday Orthros printout and insert the same marker at the corresponding location. You may want to circle the block of text to help you remember where to stop reading.

Everything is easy from this point compared to the Orthros. Again, there are italicized instructions for the variable parts. Markup really isn't necessary as there are only two variable elements, both of which are in the Divine Liturgy Variables printout. Then, you only need the Lives of the Saints for the Day (optional).

  1. (p. 4) - Epistle Reading
  2. (p. 5) - Gospel Reading
  3. (p. 8) - Lives of the Saints for the Day. (A copy of the Prologue is needed for that.)
Additional Resources
Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations?' (Mark 11:17)

Anyone designated by the priest as the leader of the Reader's Service is require to listen to a series of Ancient Faith podcasts titled A Sacrifice of Praise. Start with this one.

Intro to Vespers (27 minutes)

These audio lecture help orient you to how the services are structured and why they're structured the way they are. This is great background information.