Lectionary

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A lectionary is a book containing Scripture readings (pericopes) that are appointed to be read in Church services according to the cycles of the liturgical year. The lectionary goes back at least to the fourth century, and some of the oldest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament that have survived are Byzantine lectionaries.

The oldest form of the lectionary had the Scripture text with the beginning and ending of each pericope noted in the margin. This is still essentially the format of the Slavic Gospel and Apostol. Contemporary Byzantine lectionaries reflect a further development, in which each pericope is printed in the order in which it is read in the church year. Its beginning is included in the text, and the ending is a clear break.

In the Orthodox Church, the Lectionary is traditionally found in three books, the Gospel, the Epistle, and the Prophetologion. Of these three texts, only the Prophetologion has not been published in a single text in English. Old Testament readings are typically taken from the Menaion or other texts that contain these readings. There have also been texts containing the Lenten lectionary which have been published in English. One classic text that contains the most commonly used portions of the entire lectionary is "Divine Prayers and Services of the Catholic Orthodox Church of Christ", by Fr. Seraphim Nassar—commonly known as "The Nassar Five-Pounder."

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