Thoughts About the Office of Reader in the Orthodox Church

My son, the first degree of the Priesthood is that of Reader. It behooveth thee therefore, to peruse the divine Scriptures daily, to the end that the hearers, regarding thee may receive edification; that thou in nowise shaming thine election, mayest prepare thyself for a higher degree. For by a chaste, holy and upright life thou shalt gain the favour of the God of loving-kindness, and shalt render thyself worthy of a greater ministry, through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom be glory unto ages of ages. Amen. (From the Service for setting apart of a Reader)

… It is truly a great honor for a person to take the holy books such as the Epistles into his hands and read them to the people when they are congregated in the church. His voice must be clear. The words must be heard perfectly and the diction of the reader must show a person who believes in what he reads that he feels and is moved by them. They are words that have unimaginable grandeur. They are words that embody life and strength inside them. They are the heavenly seed that God continues to sow in the hearts of people. (From the writings of Bishop Augoustinos of Florina (Orthodox House of Worship))

Those who read the Psalms and the Daily Offices, that is, Vespers, Matins, and the Hours, should prepare in good time and find the troparions and kontakions of the day beforehand, so as not to make mistakes during the reading in church and not to have to stop to look for troparions and kontakions and thereby spoil the spirit of prayer. The reader should stand straight, with his hands at his sides; he should read without hurrying and without dragging, and he should pronounce the words clearly and distinctly.

In reading the Apostle (Epistle), one should on no account shout excessively or indecorously, out of vainglory. On the contrary, one should read in a natural voice, reverently, distinctly, majestically, without that exertion which is offensive both to the ear and the conscience, so that our sacrifice of praise may be acceptable to God, lest we offer to God only the fruit of our lips (Heb 13:15), and offer the fruit of our mind and heart to vanity, while even the fruit of our lips is rejected by God as a polluted sacrifice. (From the writings of Bishop Ignatius (An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism, The Arena))
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