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The Agpeya and Coptic "Breviary"


Dec 26, 2009
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Wisconsin, USA
I just received a copy of "The Agpeya: The Coptic Book of Hours," edited by Fr. Matthias Farid Wahba and published by St. Antonius Coptic Orthodox Church of the San Francisco Bay Area. It's the 1999 Second Edition.

I like this volume very much, but I wonder if it is complete. It certainly reads as if it is complete, but there isn't any variable material--nothing for the festal or sanctoral cycles (feast days and saints' days). Is the Agpeya an abbreviation of the full cycle of Coptic hours? If so, is there a complete Coptic "Breviary" in English, or are the Coptic services more like the Eastern Orthodox services in that one needs a whole library of liturgical books to perform them completely (menaion, octoechos, horologion, etc.)? A breviary, on the other hand, is complete--the Western hours do not have as much variable material, but they do have at least some, though it can all usually be fit into one book, or at the most, a few volumes.

Also, it doesn't seem the Agpeya recites the whole Psalter. Where are the missing psalms?

Thank you for any information you could provide!


High Elder
May 8, 2003
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ON, Canada
That is the complete book of hours used in the Coptic Church.

You could also get a Psalmody (tasbeha / praise) book. The Psalmody varies from day to day and season to season, and includes doxologies for saint's feast days.

You could also get a book of veneration, or a hymnal that contains the hymns for the veneration of the saint of the day (tamageed).

You would need a Lectionary / katamarous to see the readins of the day. There is one line at copticchurch.net . You would need a Synaxarion to read about the saint of the day, also online at the same site. These are normally only used in the Liturgy, although there is nothing wrong with reading personally the readings that would be used in the Liturgy on days you can't make it.

Order of a non-fasting day:

-9th, 11th, 12th hrs of Agpeya are prayed. (Agpeya)
-Vespers Praise is prayed (Psalmody)
-Raising of Evening incense is prayed (Euchologion / Liturgy book)

over night:
-midnight hour is prayed (Agpeya)
-Midnight Praise is prayed (Psalmody book)

-Prime is prayed (Agpeya)
-The Doxology of Prime is prayed (Psalmody)
-The Raising of evening Incense is prayed (Euchologion)
-The 3rd and 6th hrs are prayed (Agpeya)
-The Liturgy of the Word is prayed (Euchologion, Lectionary, Synaxarion)
-The Liturgy of the Eucharist is prayed (Euchologion).

-The Veneration can be sung after the reading of the Synaxarion in the Liturgy of the Word, or after Vespers. While probably not technically correct, it is also commonly sung in place of Communion hymns during distribution at the end of the Liturgy of the Eucharist..

You will find more psalms used in these other services, e.g. 148-150 in the Midnight Priase. 151 is used in the vigil of Bright Saturday. I don't know if all are used liturgically at some point in the year or not.