Commentaries on the
Proposed Table of Contents

for a new comprehensive English-language edition of the Liturgical Psalter, currently in production.

As a guiding principle, the contents of a new comprehensive edition should meet the requirements for the primary practical (and historical) uses of the Psalter:

Four primary uses of the Psalter:

1) For the "continuous Psalmody" in the public worship services; i.e. the appointed schedule of Kathismata readings (with each Kathisma divided into three Stases).

2) As a form of private prayer, used when reading the Psalter in the cells as a form of prayer rule (pravilo). There are special troparia and prayers which accompany this order of prayer, with a special dismissal commemorating King David. (It is interesting to note that these sets of troparia and prayers are quite different in the Old and New Russian Rites, and are altogether missing in Greek Psalters!)

3) To accompany prayers for the Departed. (According to traditional texts, it refers to "singing" the Psalter for the Dead.) This has several practical applications, but in general there is a "received" order of prayer for the departed, including the Psalter, prayers after each each Kathisma (or Statis), and a Canon for the Reposed (singular or plural). There is also a tradition of reading the Psalter for the reposed for 40 days, called "Sorokoustie" in Russian.

4) To replace the public worship services, either alone in the cells or publicly, by means of reading portions of the Psalter. (This is especially practical in skete life and other situations where a full set of service books is not available.) The Order of the 12 Psalms, dating from the early period of the Church, is intended to fulfill this function. (This is not a form of "Cell Rule", but a replacement for the canonical offices of Vespers, Compline, Midnight Office, Matins and Hours; the Cell Rule should still to be observed, even when the 12 Psalms are observed.)

Secondary uses of the Psalter are:

a) to privide didactic material regarding the spiritual value of the psalms. — Most of the materials are derived from historically authentic patristic sources, but a few articles have been identified as medieval compositions to instruct the reader in various polemical teachings (especially regard the manner of making the Sign of the Cross and bows).

b) to provide the Biblical Odes for Matins (now used only in Great Lent in contemporary usage, but previously they were used throughout most of the year);

c) to provide the Selected Psalms and Magnifications (as well as the Lamentations in the Old Rite books); and

d) other bits of liturgical material that could very well be included in other books, but has been included as "filler material" (i.e., "off-topic" for the primary objectives of the Psalter).

Miscellaneous comments:


The Psalter – Table of Contents

Didactic Materials

Possible other inclusions:


Introductory Materials


The Psalter and the Biblical Odes


Conclusion for Reading the Psalter


Liturgical Materials Accompanying the Use of the Psalter


Materials Accompanying the Use of the Psalter in [Private] Prayer


Materials for Replacing the Divine Services with the Psalms


Possible Other Inclusions: