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: DL8409A

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Liturgy

Delivery Mode: Online

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning outcomes


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


Examine 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

An introductory unit in Coptic Liturgy


Weekly sessions, comprising guided reading from the set texts, additional reading resources and some notes, together with an online tutorial. Students will be expected to contribute to the discussions in each session.

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.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Written Assessment Task 3500 words

3500 50.0

Written Assessment Task 3500 words

3500 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 30 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:48 +1000