Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Review: Protheoria of the Biolakes Typikon

Protheoria of the Biolakes Typikon, Translated by Fr. Konstantinos Terzopoulos, (Orthodox Research Institute, New Hampshire, 2011)

Orthodoxy has been spreading and has been evolving within the Anglo-Saxon world. It is, therefore, inevitable that many of the works produced in the East have been and continue to be translated into the English language. The Protheoria of the Biolakes Typikon is a book which provides the English speaking reader a general outline of the structure of the mysteries and services as they should be appropriately ordered for use within all the Orthodox parishes word wide; hence the ‘taxis’, i.e. the Order, of the Divine Mysteries of the Ecclesia forms the guidelines for the services during the whole year.

It is the first time that a work like this is produced in English, being a translation of the 1888 Patriarchal edition of the Ecclesiastical Typikon of the Great Church of Christ, Constantinople. “The goal of the present translation of the Protheoria of the Typikon is to bring to the English reader a general overview of the actual structure of the services as they are to be properly ordered for use in the parishes” (p. v). In 1880 a seven member Synodal Committee was commissioned by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Protopsaltes Georgios Biolakes was a member of this committee which was given the express purpose of clarifying all ambiguous points in previous typika. 

It is of course not a book for the everyday reader, since it specialises in the order of all the services celebrated according to the Orthodox Byzantine rite; nevertheless it is of tremendous help for the chanters, priests, deacons, readers and acolytes within a parish who wish to follow the Holy Tradition of the Byzantine Church. The Biolakes Typikon maintains an important place within Orthodoxy since it is a revised version of previous, Byzantine typika. Therefore, whoever is interested in Byzantine Music and the way with which the Orthodox Church celebrates its Sacraments, then this book will enlighten the reader into the practices of Orthodoxy[1].  

[1] Salapatas, Dimitris, “Book Reviews”, Koinonia, New Series No. 61, Eastertide/Pentecost 2013, p. 73-74

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