Before the advent of printing, prayer books were written by hand and were often richly decorated with initials and miniature illustrations telling stories in the lives of Christ or the saints, or stories from the Bible. Because of the cost involved, such prayer books were usually only used by clergy, monastics, or the wealthy.
With the advent of printing, prayer books became accessible to the average laymen and have been an important aspect of Orthodox piety ever since.
Prayer books currently available in English
- The Prayer Book of Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY: generally considered the standard Russian-style prayer book in English, it uses the Psalter According to the Seventy produced by Holy Transfiguration Monastery and King James Version "Victorian English" for all prayers. Contents include full Morning and Evening Prayers, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, excerpts from Matins and Vespers, multiple troparia and kontakia, akathists and supplicatory canons to Jesus Christ and the Most Holy Theotokos, canons of the Guardian Angel and of Repentance, communion prayers, instructional materials and more. There is also a reprint of the original 1960 Jordanville Prayer Book, translated by the late Archimandrite Lazarus (Moore), available. ISBN 088465074X ISBN 978-0884-65074-4
- A Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians (published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA) is a hardbound old English prayer book following Greek usage. (It should be noted some of the liturgical services included – such as the Divine Liturgy and Matins – have slight differences from the style employed by the Greek Archdiocese of America, in that the prayer book follows an older typikon that is closer to Athonite usage.) The translation used is in harmony with HTM’s highly acclaimed Psalter and Great Horologion. Along with morning prayers commonly found in Greek proseuchetarion, the Prayers at Mealtime, the services of Small Compline, Vespers, Matins, and the Divine Liturgy, together with the principle hymns of the feasts of the year, and the complete Service of Pascha are included. Also included are the Akathists to our Sweet Lord Jesus Christ and the Most Holy Theotokos, a supplicatory canon to our Lord Jesus Christ, both the Small and Great Supplicatory Canons to the Most Holy Theotokos, a supplicatory canon to the Guardian Angel, and the Communion Prayers as well. ISBN 0943405017 ISBN 978-0943405018
- The Old Orthodox Prayer Book, or as it is commonly referred to, "The Old Believer Prayer Book": This prayer book has a lot of useful instructional material, and a lot of services that are set up such that they can be done as reader services (such as a Moleben). It also has the Slavonic text and the English text on facing pages. The disadvantage to it is the Slavonic text is not the standard text used by the Church (being the Old Rite) and so it differs in wording and often in structure. Nevertheless, it is quite useful. This prayer book was produced for use by the Old Rite community in Erie, Pennsylvania (ROCOR).
- St. Tikhon's Orthodox Prayer book (Slavonic/English Edition): This prayer book, sometimes called the "SVIT prayer book" after its original publisher, is a bilingual edition comparable to the Jordanville Prayer Book, except it uses an obsolete English translation from the first edition produced in 1959.
- The Pocket Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians, published by the Antiochian Archdiocese, is a popular, but more abbreviated version of the Prayer Book, though it contains some prayers not typically included in other prayer books.
- A Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers, published by St. Vladmir's Seminary Press, is for use by the laity. It contains Morning and Evening Prayers, Prayers for Different Occasions, Anthems and Hymns of the Greater Feasts and Saints' Days, the Slavonic and Greek Order of Confession, Prayers Before and After Holy Communion, and a Church calendar.
- Orthodox Daily Prayers, second edition, by St. Tikhon's Seminary Press is a revised version of their original prayer book published in 1982. It contains Morning Prayers and Prayers Before Sleep, prayers during the day, commemoration of the living and the dead, small compline, canons to our Guardian Angel, the Theotokos, of repentance, and of preparation for Holy Communion, as well as prayers before and after Communion. All arrangements follow the traditional Russian usage, and the translation used is the "Revised Liturgical English" used in most recent liturgical publications of St. Tikhon's Press. In 2012, a hardcover reprint of the original 1982 edition of Orthodox Daily Prayers was released by STS.
- The Prayer Book, third edition, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA is a bilingual Ukrainian/modern English prayerbook comparable in scope to Holy Trinity Monastery's edition; contains morning, daytime and evening prayers, prayers and preparations for Confession and Holy Communion, the services of Great Vespers and Matins, the Divine Liturgy with prayers following communion, hymns from the Great Feasts, plus supplementary material for litia, molebens, and more. Hardbound with three sewn-in ribbons, it is available at St. Andrew Bookstore, South Bound Brook, New Jersey.
- Divine Liturgy - Prayers - Catechism, third edition, published by the St. Sava Seminary Fund, is a bilingual Serbian / old English prayer book published with the blessing of Bishop Longin (Krco) of America and Canada of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate. With over 690 pages, this hardcover publication with marker ribbon contains the text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom with extensive commentary, festal troparia, kontakia and antiphons, short morning and evening prayers, prayers for various needs, lengthy catechetical material, and more.
- The Hours of Prayer - A Book of Devotion, prepared by Priestmonk Leonty and the Orthodox Brotherhood of the Virgin Mary of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, is a modern English translation of the hours for private use by the laity. Along with the midnight office, matins, vespers, compline, 1st / 3rd / 9th hours and the Paschal hours, included are troparia and kontakia of Sundays, weekdays, feasts, Triodian and Pentecostarion, as well as the Typica service, morning and evening prayers, akathists to Our Savior and the Mother of God, and prayers before and after communion.
Mixed Traditional and Contemporary English
- Prayer Book in Accordance with the Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, published by All Saints of Alaska Orthodox Church, an OCA parish in Victoria, British Columbia, contains modified morning and evening prayers derived from the Russian tradition, along with various troparia and kontakia, preparation prayers for Holy Communion and Confession, akathists to Our Lord and the Theotokos, occassional prayers, and third/sixth hours and typika service for when one is absent from the Divine Liturgy. It also contains almost a hundred pages of quotes from the Holy Fathers on prayer. The translation is a mix of old and contemporary English.
- Orthodox Prayers for Everyday is another adaptation of the Hours for use by the laity throughout the day. Complied and translated by Maureen Girard and published by Regina Orthodox Press, it also contains the Paschal Hours, Morning Prayers, Prayers Before Sleep, and Prayers Before Holy Communion. The translation used is a unique mix of old and modern English.
- Daily Prayer for Orthodox Christians, by Fr. N. Michael Vaporis, originally published in 1986 and recently reprinted by Holy Cross Orthodox Press (a publishing arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America), is a bilingual Greek/modern English prayer book containing selections from The Synekdemos, including Morning and Evening Prayers, Small Compline, the Service of Preparation for Holy Communion and Thanksgiving Following Holy Communion. Found online here.
- The Book of Prayers: A selection for Orthodox Christians was first published by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Ausralia in 1993. It is a bilingual edition, providing the Greek and English in parallel. It uses contemporary though formal and dignified English. It is available in hard cover and contains Morning Prayers, Evening Prayers, Prayers at Meals, Communion Prayers, The Typika and Occasional Prayers. ISBN 0646127667
- A Manual of the Hours of the Orthodox Church, by Archimandrite Cherubim of the Monastery of the Paraclete in Attica, Greece, is an abbreviated form of the hours (vespers, compline, midnight service, matins, 1st/3rd /6th/9th hours) for convenient daily use by the laity. This spiralbound pocket prayer book was translated into modern English by Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery in Otego, New York, a convent of the Orthodox Church in America.
- A Manual of Occasional Prayers, prepared and published by Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery in Otego, New York, is a pocket prayer book containing modern English translations of morning and evening prayers (following the Russian tradition), prayers for the living and departed, prayers for the sick, the suffering, those traveling, prayers of thanksgiving and many more occasional prayers for special needs.
- An Orthodox Prayer Book, edited by Fr. Michael Monos and published by Newrome Press, is based on the Prayer Book published by New Skete on Mount Athos (see above), with emendations and additions, as well as the Prayer Book of Archimandrite Ephrem Lash (also see above). Available in both hard and softcover editions, the modern English text includes Morning Prayers, the Service of Vespers, Small Compline, the Salutations to the Theotokos, Small Paraklesis, Prayers Before Meals, the Paschal Hours, the Lesser Hours, the Midnight Office, the Service of Preparation for Holy Communion, the Prayers of Thanksgiving After Holy Communion, the Prayer of the Heart, Occasional Prayers, the Fasting Periods of the Church and a Paschalion through 2026.
- Orthodox Prayerbook: A Collection of Prayers in the OCA Tradition, second revised edition, prepared and published by St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church in Langley, British Columbia, is a modern English prayer book containing Russian-style morning and evening prayers, weekly and festal troparia and kontakia, a supplicatory service to the Theotokos, prayers before and after communion, five akathist hymns and more. The first edition is available online here.
- Orthodox Christian Prayerbook, published by the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, is an adaptation of the Book of Hours, or Horologion, for use by the laity. It contains Vespers, Small Compline, the Midnight Office, Daily Matins and First Hour, Third Hour, Sixth Hour and Typica, and the Ninth Hour arranged for use without clergy. The translation used is a modern English revision of the texts used by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
- Come To Me, published by Christ the Saviour Seminary Press in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is a publication of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese. It contains Morning and Evening Prayers, Prayers for Different Occasions, the diocesan text of the Divine Liturgy, the full text of Troparion/Kontakion and Prokeimenon of each Sunday, Special Hymns, the Order for Confession, and Prayers Before and After Holy Communion. The book also contains a number of instructional and catechetical articles on Confession and Communion, Reading the Bible, living an Orthodox life, as well as meditations on Holy Communion.
- An Orthodox Prayer Book, Second Edition, by Archimandrite Ephrem (Lash), published by Nigel Lynn Publishing on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain;bilingual Greek/modern English edition following the settings of Greek morning prayers, evening prayers and small Compline as found in the Synekdemos. This translation is harmonious with the Oxford University Press edition of the Divine Liturgy (published with the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarch) and with the wide range of liturgical material published on Fr Ephrem's web-site. Copies are available at the office of the Archdiocese of Thyateira.
- A Prayer Book: An Anthology of Orthodox Prayers, by Fr. Peter A. Chamberas, is a bilingual Greek and modern English prayer book published by Alexander Press containing Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Midnight prayers, plus 50 pages of prayers for various needs.
- My Prayer Book, published in 2003 by the Attendants of Hieromonk Spyridon of New Skete, Mount Athos, Greece, is a modern English translation of common Greek Orthodox prayers found in many Proseuchetarion. The text is available online here.
- Orthodox Prayer Book, published by Holy Protection Monastery in Lake George, Colorado, is a modern English prayer book containing the common morning and evening prayers used in the Russian tradition, plus prayers for loved ones and various needs, Canons to Our Guardian Angel and for Repentance, Paraklesis to the Theotokos, and prayers before and after Holy Communion.
- Good Shepherd Prayer Book, published by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, is a comprehensive bilingual Ukrainian/modern English prayer book containing full morning and evening prayers, prayers for various needs, the services of Great Vespers, Matins, and the Divine Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great, a 30 page catechism, prayers of preparation for the mysteries of confession and Holy Communion, prayers following communion, resurrectional tones, daily changeable portions of the Liturgy, hymns and prayers from the General Menaion, the Lenten Triodion, the Pentecostarion, and the Festal Menaion, akathists to Christ, the Theotokos, and St. Nicholas, Molebens to Christ and the Theotokos, the Memorial Litia and more. Published with a heavy hardbound cover, semi-glossy stock paper and 5 colored ribbons.
Western Rite: Traditional English
- The Saint Ambrose Prayer Book: A Devotion Manual for Orthodox Christians of the Western Rite, edited by Fr. John G. Winfrey, is a Western Rite Orthodox revision of the St. Augustine Prayer Book, commonly used within traditional Episcopalian/Anglican communities. Prepared for use by the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate, it contains many private devotions such as morning/mid-day/evening prayers, preparations for confession and communion, prayers for the sick and dead, stations of the cross, litanies, novenas, devotions to the saints, as well as the ordinary and canon of the Liturgies of St. Gregory and St. Tikhon. With 456 pages, it has a faux leather cover with two colored ribbons and gilt edges.
- Practical Tips on how to Build a Liturgical Library
- The Old (Fr. Lazarus Moore) Jordanville Prayer Book, Online
- Prayer, Orthodoxinfo.com
- Prayer Book by the Cell Attendants of Priestmonk Spyridon of New Skete, Mount Athos
- Daily Prayers for Orthodox Christians by Fr. N. Michael Vaporis
- Small Prayer Book (Greek), prepared by the Orthodox Church of Greece, Holy Synod in Resistance
- My Orthodox Prayer Book, prepared by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa
- Morning and Evening Prayer Rules in the Russian Orthodox Tradition, by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov
- Orthodox Prayerbook: A Collection of Prayers in the OCA Tradition (first edition), compiled by St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church, Langley, B.C., Canada
- Greek / English Prayer Book of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto, Canada (Ecumenical Patriarchate)
- Daily Prayers of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver, CO (Ecumenical Patriarchate)
- The Eastern Orthodox Prayer Book, compiled by Bishop Fan Stylian Noli of the Albanian Orthodox Church in America (1949)