This unit will examine the two important liturgical books used daily in the Coptic church; the Horologion (Agpeya = book of hours) and the book of Psalmodia (book of midnight and evening praise). The Horologion (Agpya) consists of prayers, Psalms, Gospel readings, and “troparia” (petitions) to be said at the various hours of the day and night. Students will gain insight into the historical development and the current structure of the canonical hours and their role in spiritual practice. The liturgical book of Psalmodia consists of Odes, Psalies, Theotokia (veneration to St Mary) and Doxologies which are chanted in the evening and night hours. Students will learn about the historical development and the structure as well as the theological thought preserved in hymnology in this very important liturgical book.

Unit code: DL1400A

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Liturgy

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the structure of the books of Psalmodia and the Horologion.


Articulate an understanding of the daily service of the two books in Coptic Monasteries and Churches.


Identify the position of St. Mary as "Theotokos" in the book of Psalmodia.


Discuss the history of the canonical hours prayers of the early church and Coptic Church.


Analyse the developmental process of the history of the books (Horologion and Psalmodia) in the Christian churches and in the Coptic Church.

Unit sequence

Prohibited combinations Only one of DL1400A or DL1409A may be taken


Weekly lectures and class discussions

Indicative Bibliography

  • Basilios, Archbishop, Canonical Hours, Book of, in: Coptic Encyclopaedia, Vol. 2. New York 1991, pp.446-449.
  • Baumstark, Anton, and Bernard, Botte. Comparative Liturgy. Westminster: Newman Press, 1958.
  • Burmester, O.H.E. The Canonical Hours of the Coptic Church, in Orientalia Christiana Periodeca (OCP), vol. 2, 1936.
  • Cassian, John, and Boniface Ramsey. John Cassian, the Institutes Ancient Christian Writers. New York: Newman Press, 2000.
  • Moftah, Raghab., Robertson Marian., Roy Martha., and Toth Margit., Coptic Music, The Canonical Hours, in: Coptic Encyclopaedia, Vol. 6, New York 1991, pp.1724-1729.
  • Palladius, and Cuthbert Butler. The Lausiac History of Palladius. A Critical Discussion Together with Notes on Early Egyptian Monachism. 2 vols. Texts and Studies, 6. Hildesheim,: Gg Olms, 1967.
  • Taft, Robert F. The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West: The Origins of the Divine Office and Its Meaning for Today. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1986. (recommended for purchase)

Also, handouts and articles from various texts will be available online.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay (Psalmodia) 2000 Words

2000 50.0

Essay (Horologion) 2000 Words

2000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 19 Oct, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-05-22 13:27:43 +1000