The name is applied to (a) the book that contains the principal hymns for the ecclesiastical year; (b) the service that follows the offices of the Compline, midnight prayer, and morning prayer. This book contains the biblical odes (Exod. 15:1-21; Ps. 136; Dan. 3: 52-58; Ps. 148, 149, 150), the seven Theotokia (seven hymns to the Mother of God, each one for a day of the week), and the doxologies.
There are two types. The yearly Psalmody covers the whole year except the month of Kiahk. The Kiahk Psalmodia contains special psalmodies sung during the month of Kiahk, and Sunday vigils that last all night. It is commonly called “the seven and four” because seven Theotokias and four odes are thus sung. In addition to the odes and Theotokias, there are several psalis in Coptic and Arabic, the commentary, and lobsh.
The most ancient manuscript is among the collection of the Monastery of the Archangel Michael in Hamuli, discovered by peasants in 1910. It is now preserved in the collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library under number M 574. This manuscript is dated 892 or 893. An ostracon preserved in the Coptic Museum contains the third ode in Greek that could be dated to the seventh century. Some papyri were discovered by Flinder Petrie in the Monastery of al-Hamam and contain fragments of the third ode and a list of saints. The first publication of this text was edited by R. Tukhi in 1764.
He did not adhere to the original manuscript and made some changes according to the Catholic faith. In 1908, a Coptic Orthodox monk, Mina al-Baramusi, published in Alexandria the Psalmodia with the help of Bishop Youannis of Munufia and Bishop Thomas of Ashmunin. In the same year, Claudius Labib published the Psalmodia according to the manuscripts of the Patriarch Cyril V and Bishop Isaac of Beni Suef.
This edition was reprinted several times by the hegemon Attallah Arsenius al-Muharraqi, and the commission of the publication of Beni Suef. The Society of the Churches Renaissance published the same book for the first time in 1948. An Italian translation of Claudius Labib’s edition was published by M. Borgi in 1962. See also MUSIC, COPTIC.