Our monastic Divine Office follows the format established by St. Benedict in his Rule, and is sung in traditional English from the Monastic Diurnal and the Monastic Diurnal Noted — both publications of the Lancelot Andrewes Press, publishers of traditional liturgical materials. Christminster, through the St. Bede’s Guild, is the Canadian distributor for their publications.
Unless interrupted by a Greater Feast or Solemnity with appointed Psalms, the entire Psalter is prayed “in course” every week, divided among Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. In Matins, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline the Psalter is accompanied by Canticles from the other books of the Old Testament and the Gospels.
The Offices also include hymns composed by — or in the style of — St. Ambrose of Milan along with the Kyrie eleison, Lord’s Prayer, and prayers appropriate to the day.
Participation in our worship
All persons of good will are welcome to be present with the monks during worship services. Visitors are encouraged to participate in our services by singing and making the appropriate responses. One of the monks or the regular worshippers will be happy to help you with the book. You might find it easier, on a first or second visit, to simply follow along without the distraction of trying to keep up with the way services jump from one page to another for the various portions of the service.
If you are unfamiliar with the music or format of the services, please follow along quietly while you become accustomed to the chant tones; then, feel free to sing along with us in a quiet voice — but please allow the monks to lead the singing and be careful not to “drown them out”! Monastic worship, while joyful, is conducted in a contemplative atmosphere.
In keeping with Orthodox theology and Canon Law, only Orthodox Christians who have properly prepared by fasting and prayer are able to receive the Holy Communion. This is done by approaching the Chalice with one’s arms crossed over the chest, opening one’s mouth widely, and extending the tongue slightly so that the priest may place the Body and Blood of Christ on it.
Non-Orthodox persons are welcome to come forward during the distribution of Holy Communion and ask the priest for a blessing.