Get Shehimo essential facts below. View Videos or join the Shehimo discussion. Add Shehimo to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.

Shehimo: Book of Common Prayer
Shehimo Breviary.jpg
Front cover
AuthorSyriac Orthodox Church
TranslatorFr. Bede Griffiths[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish , Malayalam , Syriac , Greek
GenreChristian Breviary
PublishedMarch 2016
PublisherMinistry of Liturgical Resource Development
Pages222 pages (Hardcover)
Preceded byThe Book of Common Prayer (Sh'himo Namaskaram) [July 2011] 
Followed byService Book of the Holy Qurbono [2017] 

Shehimo (Syriac: ‎, Malayalam: ; English: Book of Common Prayer, also spelled Sh'himo) is the West Syriac Christian breviary of the Syriac Orthodox Church (Jacobite Church), the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, the Malabar Independent Syrian Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church ; that contains the seven canonical hours of prayer.[2] [3] The Shehimo includes Bible readings, hymns and other prescribed prayers from the West Syriac Liturgical system. Within the breviary there are certain prayers that are recited at seven fixed prayer times, while facing the east at home or church. The Shehimo also provides communal prayers as an introduction to the Holy Qurbono. The practice of praying during the canonical hours has its roots taken from Psalm 119:164, in which the prophet David prays to God seven times a day.[4][5] The Shehimo breviary can be prayed either by reading or chanting the prose or singing the verses. The different versions of the breviary are available in Syriac, Malayalam, English, among other languages.[6]


Shehimo is considered a treasury of Syriac Christianity, dating back all the way to the 4th century. Traditionally, the early texts were originally in Syriac only but, with the work and translations of the late Mr. C. P. Chandy, the prayers were made available in Malayalam while still preserving the original Syriac meter. In the 1960s, Fr. Bede Griffiths of Kurisumala Ashram translated an English prose version of the Pampakuda edition Shehimo which was the only English Shehimo version existing among the Syrian scholars. This 2016 version of the Shehimo is a versified edition of the two works by a team of theologically trained individuals in America. Baby Varghese writes, "This publication is a first attempt at the English versification stemming from these individuals' love for the Syriac liturgy."[7] There are currently no active attempts at a revision.

Order of Canonical Hours

The seven hours of prayers begin the day before with Ramsho (Evening) and end the day of with Tsha' sho'in (9th Hour), following the definition of a day in the Christian Bible (cf. Genesis 1:5).

Canonical hours in Syriac and English
Syriac name English name Time
Ramsho Vespers or Evening 6 pm
Soutoro Compline 9 pm
Lilio Night Vigil 12 am, more commonly right before Morning
Safro Matins 6 am
Tloth sho`in 3rd Hour 9 am
Sheth sho`in 6th Hour 12 pm
Tsha' sho`in 9th Hour 3 pm



At the beginning of the week, which is Sunday, believers participate in the public celebration of the Holy Qurbono. The Holy Qurbono or divine liturgy remembers the birth, baptism, public ministry, crucifixion, death, resurrection, ascension and second coming of Christ.[9] The overarching theme for Sunday is celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. The themes for the remaining days of the week are as follows.


Worshipers pray the Shehimo at seven fixed prayer times everyday, corresponding to the number of canonical hours in the breviary. They pray while facing the eastward direction; towards an altar or Iconostasis. This tradition is derived from the book of Psalms 118:164 in the Bible.[8][10]

The vast majority of the people who use the Shehimo books have learned the songs and prayers of the Shehimo at an early age, from their church life and daily family prayers at home. Before beginning each hour of Shehimo prayers, one must wash their hands and face in order to be clean before and present their best to God; and their shoes are removed in order to acknowledge that one is offering prayer before a holy God.[11][12] In this Christian tradition, and in many others as well, it is customary for women to wear a head covering or shawl when praying.[13]

The offices used in the Shehimo, with the exception of Sunday and major feast days (Christmas, Easter, etc.) all involve prostrating; prostrations are done [1] thrice during the Qaumo prayer, at the words "Crucified for us, Have mercy on us!", [2] thrice during the recitation of the Nicene Creed at the words "And was incarnate of the Holy Spirit...", "And was crucified for us...", & "And on the third day rose again...", as well as [3] thrice during the Prayer of the Cherubim during "Blessed is the glory of the Lord, from His place forever!"[14][15]

Members of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church (Reformed Syrians), pray the Shehimo seven times a day, omitting the Hail Mary prayer and intercession to saints ,veneratory prayers are regarded optional and said following the recitation of the Qaumo.[3][16]

During the season of Great Lent in the Christian calendar, forty prostrations are done daily after the completion of 6th Hour (Sheth sho`in).[17]

The Shehimo book is available for purchase on the official LRD website.[18] The book is also accessible online using the free LRD mobile app for the App Store[19] and Google Play Store.[20]


Orthodox monks use the Shehimo prayers throughout their monastic day.

The hours of each day follows a similar theme or pattern. For example, the Soutoro of each day has a theme of repentance. During the Watches of Lilio the first qaumo commemorates the Mother of God, second qaumo the saints, third qaumo varies on the day, and the fourth qaumo is a general theme. The theme of Tloth sho`in is reflective of the theme of the day. The prayers of Sheth sho`in commemorates the Mother of God, the saints and the faithful departed. The prayers of Tsha' sho`in always commemorates the faithful departed.

Each office or hour begins with the reciting of the Qaumo or Trisagion ("Thrice Holy"). Then followed by that is the Introductory prayer. To end each of the hours of worship there is again a Qaumo with the exception of at the end of Soutoro where the Praise of the Cherubim is used. Additional all of terminal offices ends with the Nicene Creed.

Eight Modal System

Severus of Antioch, another venerated Orthodox saint, theologian and writer who composed the Ma'nitho of Severus, a doctrinal hymn found in every 6th Hour prayer that affirms the true faith[21][22]

In the West Syriac Orthodox Tradition, there are originally 8 modes for singing, in Malayalam they are referred to as "Nirams", and in West Syriac as "T'mone Rekne". The 8 modes correspond to the 7 days of the week. This system has fallen out of practice in Malankara in favor of easy to remember and catchy Protestant melodies.[23] It is uncertain when or where the octoechos originated, but many credit the theologian St. Severios of Antioch.[24] The different days, themes and tones for the fixed hours are included below. (Please note R = Ramsho. S = Soutoro and M = Sapro).

Icon of Saint Ephrem (Mor Ephrem) A venerated Orthodox Saint, Theologian, Hymnographer who is considered the most prolific writer in Syriac Christianity[25]
Fixed Rekne' for Ramsho, Soutoro and Sapro
Day Theme Rekno' (R-S-M)
Qyomto (Sunday) - 1 Resurrection According to Beth Gazo
Monday - 2 Repentance 6 - 6 - 2
Tuesday - 3 Repentance 6 - 6 - 8
Wednesday - 4 Mother of God 7 - 7 - 7
Thursday - 5 Apostles, Martyrs and Doctors 5 - 5 - 1
Friday - 6 Cross 1 - 1 - 6
Saturday - 7 Departed Clergy, Faithful Departed 1 - 1 - 8[24]

The rekne' for each Sunday is found in the Beth Gazo. For the remaining four hours, the "Two Rekne' Per Week" system is followed. When using the two rekne' alternating system, If the week starts with rekno' 1 on the first day (Sunday) it will follow with rekno' 5 on the second day (Monday). It will continue alternating rekne' 1 and 5 until the next Sunday. The following week on Sunday. rekno' 2 will be used with rekno' 6 alternating. An 8-week model has been included below. (Please note the system may vary or reset depending on certain feast days occurring during the week.

Two Rekne' Per Week System
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
Rekno' 1

Rekno' 5

Rekno' 2

Rekno' 6

Rekno' 3

Rekno' 7

Rekno' 4

Rekno' 8

Rekno' 5

Rekno' 1

Rekno' 6

Rekno' 2

Rekno' 7

Rekno' 3

Rekno' 8

Rekno' 4

It is customary for to seek the intercessions of the Mother of God, all the saints and pray for the faithful departed while praying the Shehimo. These are done through the Quqlions (Greek) in English they are called "cycles". When sung, all of the Quqlions follow the same structure. The Pethgomo' (word or verse), Eqbo (foot or base), Qolo (song) and Bo'utho (petition). The Quqlions, respected Pethgomo', the Psalm excerpt and general rekno' are listed below. (Please note syr = Syriac. mal = Malayalam. eng = English).

Rekne' for Quqlions
Intercession (General) Pethgomo' Psalm Rekno'[26]
Theotokos (Yoldath Aloho Mariam) Barth Malko' (syr)

Ninnaal sthuthiyodu (mal)

The King's daughter (eng)

Ps. 45:9,11 1
Saints (Qadisho) Zadiqo' (syr)

Nayavaan (mal)

The righteous (eng)

Ps. 92:12,14 8
Departed Clergy (Kohne') Kohnaik nleb'shun (syr)

Chaarthum neethiye (mal)

Your priests (eng)

Ps. 132:9-12 7
Faithful Departed (Anide') A'k damrahem (syr)

Makkalilappan (mal)

As a father (eng)

Ps. 103:13,15 8
Holy Cross (Sleebo) Bok ndaqar (syr)

Vellum shathrukkale (mal)

Through you (eng)

Ps. 44:5,7 8

See also


  1. ^ Griffiths, B. (2005). The Book of Common Prayer of the Syrian Church. United States: Gorgias Press, LLC.
  2. ^ Silvanos, Ayub (30 April 2020). The Rite of Consecration of the Church According to the Syriac Orthodox Tradition: Malayalam Version. Silvanos Charitable Society. ISBN 978-1-7346009-0-2.
  3. ^ a b Richards, William Joseph (1908). The Indian Christians of St. Thomas: Otherwise Called the Syrian Christians of Malabar: a Sketch of Their History and an Account of Their Present Condition as Well as a Discussion of the Legend of St. Thomas. Bemrose. pp. 98-101.
  4. ^ "Prayers of the Church". Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ Kalleeny, Tony. "Why We Face the EAST". Orlando: St Mary and Archangel Michael Church. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ Kurian, Jake. ""Seven Times a Day I Praise You" - The Shehimo Prayers". Diocese of South-West America of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ Shehimo Book of Common Prayers. Ministry of Liturgical Resource Development. 2016. ISBN 0-9972544-0-8.
  8. ^ a b "My Life in Heaven & on Earth" (PDF). St. Thomas Malankara Orthodox Church. p. 31. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ Oommen, Ann (2015). Symbols & Significance of Malankara Orthodox Holy Qurbana. Ann Mini Oommem. p. 23.
  10. ^ Duffner, Jordan Denari (13 February 2014). "Wait, I thought that was a Muslim thing?!". Commonweal. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ Mary Cecil, 2nd Baroness Amherst of Hackney (1906). A Sketch of Egyptian History from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. Methuen. p. 399. Prayers 7 times a day are enjoined, and the most strict among the Copts recite one of more of the Psalms of David each time they pray. They always wash their hands and faces before devotions, and turn to the East.
  12. ^ Kosloski, Philip (16 October 2017). "Did you know Muslims pray in a similar way to some Christians?". Aleteia. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ Bercot, David. "Head Covering Through the Centuries". Scroll Publishing. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ Shehimo: Book of Common Prayer. Diocese of South-West America of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. 2016. pp. 5, 7, 12.
  15. ^ Varghese, Baby (2004). West Syrian Liturgical Theology. Ashgate. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-7546-0618-5.
  16. ^ Shehimo: Book of Common Prayer. Diocese of South-West America of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. 2016. p. 5. This prayer is not originally part of the Quamo, but may be recited. Peace be with You, Mary, full of grace...
  17. ^ "Prostration/ Kneeling (Kumbideel)". Malankara World. 2009. Retrieved 2020.
  18. ^ "LRD". Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ "LRD". App Store. Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ "LRD - Apps on Google Play". Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (2017). Service Book of the Holy Qurbono with English Commentary. Devalokam, Kottayam: Malankara Orthodox Church Publications. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-9972544-4-0.
  22. ^ Shehimo Book of Common Prayers. Ministry of Liturgical Resource Development. 2016. p. 26. ISBN 0-9972544-0-8.
  23. ^ "Liturgical Music |". Retrieved 2020.
  24. ^ a b George, M.P (2012). West Syriac Musical Tradition of the Beth Gazo' in India. Baker Hill, Kottayam: St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute. p. 24.
  25. ^ Ephraem, Syrus, Saint, 303-373. Ephrem the Syrian : hymns. McVey, Kathleen E., 1944-. New York. ISBN 0-8091-3093-9. OCLC 20098196.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ Palackal, Joseph J. "Okto?chos" of the Syrian orthodox churches in South India. OCLC 883018984.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes