The Eastern Orthodox Lectionary
... I have a question about the scripture readings. How was it decided what we should read each day? Why do the daily scripture readings "jump around"?


The reason that the daily Epistles and Gospels "skip around" comes from the way that the daily lectionary was formed.

At an earlier time, only Sundays, Saturdays, and various other days of special rank had a proper Epistle and Gospel. Thus I have a xerox of a lectionary from Palestine which provides readings only for such days.

Subsequently, when it was decided to provide most days with an Epistle and Gospel, the *remaining* sections of the New Testament were used for this, omitting the readings already assigned to a Saturday, Sunday, or other special occasion. Thus The Saturday and Sunday readings usually are not "in sequence", while those for Monday through Friday usually are (except where they skip over a text already assigned to another day).

For more detailed information, see An Examination of how the Lectionary is used throughout the year

The "Kellia" Lectionary

However, *besides* the lectionary for public church services, there is also another , in which the entire Epistle and Gospel books are divided up in such a way that the Apostle is read through in 8 weeks, with readings 7 days a week, and the Gospel is read through (only on weekdays) in 4 weeks. This plan is for private reading. In the Slavonic Epistle and Gospel books it is marked out by signs in the margin, and a table (approximate) of these readings, which I had worked on with Reader Daniel Olson, was also published on the Ustav list. These "kellia" readings do not take up very much time, and I can recommend them for anyone who wants to read through the New Testament using an Orthodox lectionary. The table is quite old, and is found even in the pre-Niconian editions of the Apostle and Gospel books.

Fr. John R. Shaw
Taken from a post to the Ustav mailing list, Wed, 23 Feb 2000
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