A New Alexa Skill

orthodox-crossI’d like to announce a new Amazon Alexa Skill called Orthodox Daily. The purpose of the skill is first and foremost to make it easy to experience the daily scripture readings appointed by the Church. Once you enable this skill, your Echo will be able to read these passages to you on demand. The second purpose of the skill is to provide overview information about today (or any day). Alexa can tell you if today is a fast day and what specifically is allowed (e.g. fish) along with commemorations of feasts and saints. In order to use this skill, you must first enable Orthodox Daily.

In the process of building the Alexa Skill, I also ended up building a web service that provides the same information using a RESTful api. This api is intended to be used by mobile app developers as well as parish webmasters. I may eventually build a mobile app using this api, but would be happier if someone else did it first. You can find out more details about the api on orthocal.info, which also where the Alexa skill is hosted. If you decide to use this api, please let me know so that I can ensure that I don’t break things that you are using.

Since I was in the process of building a calendar service and I’ve always wanted an Orthodox calendar feed for my Google Calendar, I also built an iCal feed with the commemorations, fasting information, and scripture references. It works in both Google Calendar and Apple’s iCal, and hopefully other calendar applications as well.

I offer thanks to Paul Kachur for working out the algorithm that figures out the readings, commemorations, and fasting times and also for collecting the information that makes up the database for this application. I could not have built these services without the work that that Paul did in his Orthodox Calendar project.

The source code is MIT licensed. Please report bugs and feature requests using the Github Issues page.