Pravilo (Rule for preparation for communion) for the unlettered

A priest may sometimes have occasion to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the morning, when he was not able to be in church the evening before. This can be in circumstances such as a conference, when most of the time is taken up with other activities, such as presentations and discussions. There is a Divine Liturgy in the morning, but the celebrant has to prepare himself privately.

This involves reading Vespers, Compline, and Matins, as well as the preparation for Holy Communion.

If that sounds daunting, there are several "mitigating factors":

1) According to several of our senior hierarchs, including St. John Maximovitch for example, one who celebrates or concelebrates the Divine Liturgy *two or more days in a row* need not recite the service of the Three Canons ("Trexkannonik" is easier to say in Russian!), but only the Prayers before Communion (but he does read Vespers and Matins).

2) As is now generally known, a given number of repetitions of the Jesus Prayer can be substituted for any of these services, so that

for Vespers one substitutes 100 repetitions with 25 prostrations, or simply 600 repetitions,

for Compline 50 repetitions with 12 prostrations,

for Matins 300 repetitions with 50 prostrations;

or else for Vespers simply 600 repetitions [without prostrations], for Compline 400, and so on.

This system is widely practiced, and has the advantage that it can be used while driving a car, if need be, or where conditions are otherwise bad for reading.

3) To read Vespers and Matins, one does not necessarily need to have a small library of books. The [Slavonic] Priest's Prayer book and the Great Horologion both contain everything necessary for "private" Vespers and Matins as part of the preparation for serving. In this case, instead of all the texts from the Menaion and other service books, one would use one of the common services provided, according to the day of the week: for Monday, the Common of the Angels and Archangels, for Tuesday that of St. John the Baptist, and so forth. These are printed in the form used for *feasts*, but for a weekday, one omits the festal elements such as the 3 readings at Vespers or the Gospel at Matins.

4) For those who read Greek, or who have one of the rare Slavonic copies, there is a very useful book called the Anthologion, in 4 portable-size volumes. These provide all or part of the proper texts for every day of the year. There is one for the Lenten Triodion, with excerpts from the Menaion and the Horologion in the same volume, so that one needs nothing else; another for the Pentecostarion, and another two, one for the period between the Sunday of All Saints and Sept 1, and another that goes from Sept. 1 till the beginning of the Lenten Triodion.

These books do *not* include the preparation for Holy Communion, however.

5) It is also possible to use a combination of the "Jesus Prayer" method with a partial reading of some of the elements mentioned above.

In Christ Fr. John R. Shaw

Two forms of the "Pravilo for the Unlettered" as it is printed in the Great Horologion.

In that book, there are two tables: one appears [in the 1964 Jordanville edition] on p. 465, and the other on p. 468. I simply made the two into one.

The first table, in its entirety, is as follows:

"In place of the singing of Vespers, the Jesus Prayer 100 times, and 25 bows (poklony).

For Compline, 50 prayers, and 12 bows.

For The Canon of the Akathists to the Theotokos, 70 prayers and 12 bows.

For the Paraclesis Canon to the Theotokos, day Canon, 30 prayers and 5 bows.

For the Mesonycticon (Polunoschnitza), 100 prayers and 25 bows.

For Matins, 300 prayers and 50 bows.

For the First Hour, 50 prayers and 7 bows.

For the Third, Sixth and Ninth Hours, 50 prayers and 7 bows each.

For the Typica, 100 prayers and 10 bows."

However, further on, at p. 468, we find another table with the same heading, and a different scheme, as follows:

"For the entire Psalter, 6,000 Jesus prayers.

For one Kathisma, 300 prayers. For one "Slava", 100 prayers.

For the Mesonycticon, 600.

For Matins, 1,500.

For the Hours *without* the Inter-Hours, 1,000 prayers. *With* the Inter-Hours, 1,500.

For Vespers, 600.

For the Great Compline, 700.

For the Lesser Compline, 400.

For the Canon of the Akathists to the Theotokos, with their Kontakia and Oikoi, 300 bows."

The last sentence may have been a typographical error, with the word "bows" where, up to then, only the number of *repetitions of the Jesus prayer* had been mentioned.

This book was an offset reprint of a 19th century Kievo-Pechersky edition -- and at that time, the possibility of someone driving a car or being on an airplane did not come into the picture. So for us, the "bows" are not always practicable.

In Christ Fr. John R. Shaw