Further Reading Suggestions & Sources on Liturgy

General Introductions and Commentaries

Life and worship: the mystery of Christ among us. An introduction to Eastern Theology. Pittsburgh, PA: God With Us Publications, 1986.
An overview of the worship cycle, structure and development in the Eastern Church.
The Mystery Celebrated. Vol. 2. 3 vols. Light for Life. Pittsburgh, PA: God With Us Publications, 1996.
Eastern conference of catechetical directors response to the Catholic Catechism. An introduction to worship cycles and their connection with the theology and life of the church.
Farrow, Michael G. Psalm verses of the Orthodox liturgy. Torrance, CA: Oakwood Publications, 1997.
Includes a ten page introduction on the use of Psalms as the Antiphons, Entrance Hymns, Prokeimena & Alleluia, and Communion Hymns. The bulk of the text is a complete compilation of these elements for the entire liturgical year. There are notes on where the Slavic and Greek usages are different for the feasts. The indexes provide a cross reference by Psalm order for where they are used in the liturgical year and an index of Psalm phrases.
Gardner, Johann von. Russian church singing. Translated by Vladimir Morosan. Vol. 1. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1980.
Gardner, Johann von. Russian church singing: history from the origins to the mid-seventeenth century. Translated by Vladimir Morosan. Vol. 2. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2000.
These is the first two of the three volume work by Gardner on the history of chant in Slavic territories (The third is still not available in English). Gardner toured the areas and documented what he found in both the old chant books and the living tradition.
Hopko, Thomas. The winter Pascha. Crestwood, N.Y.: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1984.
This provides forty short meditations for the preparation for the Nativity. This allows one per day during the traditional forty day fast before the feast known as the Phillipian fast. Hopko compares this fasting period to the Great Fast before the feast of Pascha, hence the title. He points out the connections between the feasts of the Nativity and Pascha along the way.
Meyendorff, Paul. Russia, ritual, and reform : the liturgical reforms of Nikon in the 17th century. Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1991.
The reforms of Patriarch Nikon had a profound effect on liturgical celebration throughout Slavic lands. This reform was aimed at bringing Russian practice in line with Greek, but in practice created a new ordo instead. This resulted in the split of the Old Believers from the Russian Orthodox fold.
Schmemann, Alexander. Great Lent: Journey to Pascha. Rev ed. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 1974.
This book has become the classic explanation of the liturgical experience of the Great Fast. Father Alexander clearly explains the change in our attitude in prayer that needs to accompany the change in liturgical practice during the Great Fast. He briefly covers the development of liturgical practice, the readings encountered and the rational for these in our preparation for Pascha. The appendix of this volume is his call for renewal in our approach to communion as a church.
Schmemann, Alexander. Introduction to liturgical theology. 3rd ed. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1986.
An in-depth look at the development of the Divine services and what they mean for the life of the church; designed for a first class in Liturgy at the seminary.
Shereghy, Basil. The liturgical year of the Byzantine-Slavonic rite. Pittsburgh, PA: Byzantine Seminary Press, 1968.
A brief history of all the major holy days and their organization on the Calendar.
Taft, Robert F. Through their own eyes : liturgy as the Byzantines saw it. Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute. Berkeley, CA: InterOrthodox Press, 2006.
These are lectures delivered to the institute discussing the earliest eye witness records we have for Byzantine liturgical celebrations. Taft works through those travel journal accounts for early pilgrams and discusses what they tell us about early liturgical practice.

Service Commentaries

Barrois, George A. Scripture readings in Orthodox worship. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1977.
A brief commentary on the scope and selection of liturgical scripture readings organized by season of the year.
Bradshaw, Paul F. Ordination rites of the ancient churches of East and West. New York: Pueblo Publishing Company, 1990.
An excellent overview of the development of ordination prayers. The book opens with an overview of the prayers of ordination for each office. Bradshaw then examines the earliest sources in all the major traditions and documents the changes in the content of the prayers of ordination.
Cabasilas, Nicolaus. A commentary on the Divine Liturgy. Translated by J. M. Hussey and P. A. McNulty. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Press, 2002.
This is an important late patristic commentary on the Divine Liturgy. Cabasilas collects together the understanding of previous generations on what the nature of the Divine Liturgy and liturgical actions are.
Kucharek, Casimir A. The Byzantine-Slav liturgy of St. John Chrysostom; its origin and evolution. Allendale, NJ: Alleluia Press, 1971.
This is a recent scholarly study of the the Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine tradition. At over 800 pages this covers a lot of ground. Kucharek opens with a survey of the different liturgies by region. The bulk of the book is a section by section discussion of what each part of the the divine liturgy of St. John Chrysostom contains with commentary.
Meyendorff, John. Marriage : an Orthodox perspective. 2d expanded ed. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1975.
A brief history of the marriage ritual in the Byzantine tradition. An examination of the Jewish roots and developments necessitated by the legalization of marriage in the Byzantine empire. Some discussion of moral issues related to marriage.
Monk, of the Eastern Church. The year of grace of the Lord: a scriptural and liturgical commentary on the calendar of the Orthodox Church. Translated by Deborah Cowen. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001.
This commentary on the liturgical year runs from the September start through Pentecost. The comments cover both the scripture readings and liturgical texts for the Sundays and major feasts in order for the year. Historical notes on the feasts are also provided.
Riley, Hugh M. Christian initiation; a comparative study of the interpretation of the baptismal liturgy in the mystagogical writings of Cyril of Jerusalem, John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Ambrose of Milan. Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1974.
This is an extensive (nearly 500 page) look at baptismal liturgy and theology from the perspective of these most important Greek fathers. The union of the mystery of liturgy with the call to a moral life is foundational to eastern spirituality.
Shereghy, Basil. The Divine Liturgy of St. John Crysostom. Pittsburgh, PA: Byzantine Seminary Press, 1970.
A section-by-section commentary on the Divine Liturgy.
Solovey, Meletius Michael. The Byzantine Divine Liturgy: History and Commentary. Translated by Demetrius Emil Wysochansky. Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1970.
This commentary was originally written in 1964 in Ukrainian. The commentary is from the Slavic Byzantine practice perspective and combines the traditional symbolic approach with notes from more recent scholarly activity in the historical critical methods.
Stylianopoulos, Theodore G. Year of the Lord: Liturgical Bible Studies. 5 vols. Minneapolis: Light & Life Pub.
This five volume series provides a top-level view of the entire liturgical year. The series starts with the new church year in the fall and moves through to the summer. There are also volumes on the movable cycles of the triodion and pentecostarion.
Taft, Robert F. The liturgy of the hours in East and West: the origins of the Divine Office and its meaning for today. Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press, 1986.
An excellent overview of the development of liturgy. Taft examines the earliest sources in all the major traditions and documents the changes in the structure of the divine office.
Uspensky, Nicholas. Evening worship in the Orthodox Church. Translated by Paul Lazor. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985.
This is an edited compilation of three articles originally published in Russian in the Journal “Theological Studies” published by the Moscow Patriachate. The articles cover vespers, presanctified liturgy and the Nikonian liturgical reform.

Ordo of Services

Bradshaw, Paul F. Two ways of praying. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995.
Bradshaw presents an interesting historical study on the monastic versus the cathedral prayer services. He argues that our current services really combine the two approaches to prayer. He offers practical observations on how form, structure and posture all apply to prayer. His discussion on the use of the Psalms and the Bible in prayer are also of interest. He closes the study with comments on how liturgical reform should be approached with a practical example from the current Methodist reforms.
Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Vatican. The order for the celebration of vespers, matins and the Divine Liturgy according to the Ruthenian recension. Translated by Matthew Berko. Washington DC, 1958.
Unofficial English translation (but with the imprimatur Archbishop Constantine) of Ordo Celebrationis vesperarum, matutini et Divinae Liturgiae lixta recensionem Ruthenorum, Rome, 1944. These are the official rubrics for services in force for the Byzantine Catholic jurisdiction in the USA. There have been specific requests and grants for adjustments since the original Latin publication in 1944, but by and large this is the offical book. The book “Instructions” by the Congregation for the Eastern Churches from 1996 is the first major follow-up to this document.
Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Vatican. Instruction for applying the liturgical prescriptions of the code of canons of the Eastern Churches. ed. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Fairfax, VA: Eastern Christian Publications, 1996.
This at times terse and dry listing of over 100 instructions on how to practice the faith in our church is issued by the Vatican to help us recover our traditions. While written primarily for the religious it makes for an interesting commentary on the state of the liturgical life of our church.
Kovalchuk, Feodor S. Abridged Typicon. 2nd ed. South Canaan, PA: St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1985.
Despite the name, this is not a translation of the typicon. This is an English translation and compilation of the Moscow Patriarchate “Church Kalendar” and “Liturgical Directives” published for priests. These provide the order of how to celebrate services and many relevant notes on liturgical topics. This also includes a glossary of slavonic liturgical terms.

Originally Posted March 20, 2009
Last Revised on August 15, 2010