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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

Lord, have mercy: The most misunderstood prayer in the Christian West
By Amelia Bacic-Tulevski

http://www.orthodoxwriter.com/2012/03/lord-have-mercy-most-misunderstood.html

A really excellent commentary by an Orthodox woman with deep understanding of Orthodox history, theology, and spirituality. Check out her other posts and her books while you are on her website.

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AN EVENING HYMN.
St. Gregory Nazianzen

1. And now again at night,
O Christ, the living Word,
Thou Light of the Eternal Light,
Be Thou by us adored.

2. Thou dost the Spirit give,
Third Light, in glory one;
His grace, by whom alone we live,
Thou dost refuse to none.

3. Thou didst the darkness scatter,
Thou mad’st the light to shine,
That now through all primeval matter
Might spring delight divine.

4. It, a rude mass before,
From Thee took order new;
And shapely form, and steadfast law,
So beautiful to view.

5. And mind of man with light
From heaven Thou didst endow,
By word and wisdom that he might
Thine image bear below;

6. And lighted in his soul,
Thine own great Light might see;
And thenceforth not in part, but whole,
Himself all light might be.

7. And heaven Thou didst array,
With those bright orbs above;
And day to night, and night to day,
Proclaim Thy law of love;

8. Yielding in turn; the one
To worn-out flesh brings rest!
The other calls, “Let work be done!”
Such work as Thou lov’st best.

From: http://ccel.org/ccel/chatfield/greeksongs.h017.html

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Fall Down Get Up x3

The Orthodox among us will recognize the title. There is general acknowledgment that in our spiritual lives we tend to fall down and get up many times. We commit the same old transgressions again and again and again. We are genuinely sorry, and do try to repent, but we recognize that we probably will fail and have to try yet again. Fall down, get up; fall down, get up.

So I try to say my prayers, but sometimes I forget. I repent and start over with new resolve. Fall down, get up.

I want to attend the Divine Services regularly, but I can’t. I repent and start over with new resolve. Fall down, get up.

I want to give alms, but I can’t get to where the poor are. I repent and start over with new resolve. Fall down, get up.

People ask me for words of advice and for help. All too frequently I miss their missives, and end up responding to them inappropriately late. I repent and start over with new resolve. Fall down, get up.

Our lives are like that. We allow the physical and mundane things of life interfere with the things that are truly real and of utmost importance. When we stand before the awesome God and account for our lives, will we be able to say that we attended to the things of God, or will we have to admit to allowing our life to get in the way of our Life?

I will have to admit that. The good I would do, I do not, and the evil I would not do, I do. (Romans 7:19). In the words of the Anglican General Confession, “there is no help in me.” I have only myself to blame for my shortcomings – which are so many. In the words of St. Paul: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 18-25).

Pray for me, my friends, that I may get up and remain standing!

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The Ol’ Curmudgeon had an angioplasty (stent placed in his heart) on February 25. He was feeling miserable for about 2 months before he finally admitted he needed some help. Following the angioplasty, he was feeling much better. On March 24, he had his post-procedure appointment with the cardiologist, and was given a full release to go back to work full time. The next day he was “RIFFed.” This is where a company uses the “reduction in force” (RIF) excuse to lay someone or people off.

Since then, he’s started having cardiac symptoms again – flutters, chest discomfort, out of breath, bone weariness. Finally got him to go in again, and he is now on a Holter Monitor for 48 hours (assuming we can keep his electrodes on). I’m hoping that this is mainly stress, but with an injured ticker, it pays to be careful.

He has been without cigarettes for 5 days, now, too. I’m proud of him for that, but I know it is adding to his stress. While the symptoms he is having are NOT in anyway related to any reported effects/side-effects of Chantix(r) or nicotine withdrawal, they all can be related to stress and worry – both of which he is experiencing on many levels. So, I’m hoping and praying that these symptoms are simply that – stress and worry – and that once we rule-out the cardiac thingies, that we can address his stress and worry.

I’m wishing I could go back to work. But I’m too old and I’m too disabled. I wouldn’t last more than a day going to a hospital, working and coming home. Yet, I feel guilty that I’m not taking care of the Ol’ Curmudgeon. I keep thinking there is SOMETHING I should be able to do.

We say the Akathist to St. Xenia together, and we each pray privately. But we are “pulling back” from things. We are withdrawn from each other in some ways. I don’t want to worry him, so I don’t tell him some things. He doesn’t want to worry me, so he doesn’t tell me some things. We don’t go anywhere. We don’t make phone calls. We are simply pulling back from many things.

Now, however, it’s time for us to reach out, so I’m reaching out in this way

If any of y’all out in reader-land are so inclined, please add “Theodore” to your prayers: for his health, for his life, for a job. If you are interested, I will be posting the Akathist to St. Xenia of St. Petersburg on my Angelfire website in the next day or so. Check back for the URL.

Lord, have mercy!

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St. Ephraim (Ephrem) the Syrian gave us the prayer said more than any other in Great Lent:

O Lord and Master of my life
Take from me the spirit of sloth faintheartedness, lust of power and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of Chastity, Patience, Humility and Love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King,
Grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother
For Holy art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

What do we know about him? Here is one biography of him found on the website of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church:

The Monk Ephrem the Syrian
Commemorated on January 28 / February 10

The Monk Ephrem the Syrian, a teacher of repentance, was born at the beginning of the IV Century (his precise year of birth is unknown) in the city of Ninevah (Mesopotamia) into the family of impoverished toilers of the soil. His parents raised their son in piety. But from the time of his childhood he was known for his quick temper and irascible character, and in his youth he often had fights, he acted thoughtlessly, and even doubted of God’s Providence, until he finally recovered his senses from the Lord’s doing, guiding him on the path of repentance and salvation. One time he was unjustly accused of the theft of a sheep and was thrown into prison. And there in a dream he heard a voice, calling him to repentance and rectifying his life. After this, he was acquitted of the charges and set free.

Within Ephrem there took place a deep repentance. The youth withdrew outside the city and became an hermit. This form of Christian asceticism had been introduced at Ninevah by a disciple of the Monk Anthony the Great, – the Egyptian Wilderness-Dweller Eugenios (Eugene).

Among the hermits especially prominent was the noted ascetic, a preacher of Christianity and denouncer of the Arians, the bishop of the Ninevah Church, Saint James (Comm. 13 January). The Monk Ephrem became one of his disciples. Under the graced guidance of the holy hierarch, the Monk Ephrem attained to Christian meekness, humility, submission to the Will of God, and the strength without murmur to undergo various temptations. Saint James knew the high qualities of his student and he used them for the good of the Ninevah Church – he entrusted him to read sermons, to instruct children in the school, and he took Ephrem along with him to the First OEcumenical Council at Nicea (in the year 325). The Monk Ephrem was in obedience to Saint James for 14 years, until the bishop’s death.

After the capture of Ninevah by the Persians in the year 363, the Monk Ephrem abandoned the wilderness and settled in a monastery near the city of Edessa. Here he saw many a great ascetic, passing their lives in prayer and psalmody. Their caves were solitary shelters, and they fed themselves off a certain plant. He became especially close with the ascetic Julian (Comm. 18 October), who was one with him in a spirit of repentance. The Monk Ephrem combined with his ascetic works an incessant study of the Word of God, gathering within it for his soul both solace and wisdom. The Lord gave him a gift of teaching, and people began to come to him, wanting to hear his guidances, which produced a particular effect upon the soul, since he began with self-accusation. The monk both verbally and in writing instructed everyone in repentance, faith and piety, and he denounced the Arian heresy, which during those times was disrupting Christian society. And pagans likewise, listening to the preaching of the monk, were converted to Christianity.

He also toiled no little at the interpretation of Holy Scripture – with an explication of the Pentateuch (i.e. “Five Books”) of Moses. He wrote many a prayer and church-song, thereby enriching the Church’s Divine-services. Famed prayers of Saint Ephrem are to the Most Holy Trinity, to the Son of God, and to the Most Holy Mother of God. He wrote for his Church songs for the Twelve Great Feastdays of the Lord (the Nativity of Christ, the Baptism, the Resurrection), and funereal song. Saint Emphrem’s Prayer of Repentance, “O Lord and Master of my life…”, is said during Great Lent, and it summons Christians to spiritual renewal. The Church since times ancient valued highly the works of the Monk Ephrem: his works were read in certain churches, at gatherings of the faithful, after the Holy Scripture. And now at present in accord with the Church Ustav (Rule), certain of his instructions are prescribed to be read on the days of Lent. Amidst the prophets, Saint David is pre-eminently the psalmodist; amidst the holy fathers of the Church the Monk Ephrem the Syrian – is pre-eminently a man of prayer. His spiritual experience made him a guide to monks and an help to the pastors of Edessa. The Monk Ephrem wrote in Syrian, but his works were very early translated into the Greek and Armenian languages, and from the Greek – into the Latin and Slavonic languages.

In numerous of the works of the Monk Ephrem are encountered glimpses of the life of the Syrian ascetics, the centre of which involved prayer and with it thereupon the toiling for the common good of the brethren, in the obediences. The outlook of the meaning of life among all the Syrian ascetics was the same. The end purpose of their efforts was considered by the monks to be communality with God and the diffusion of Divine grace within the soul of the ascetic; the present life for them was a time of tears, fasting and toil.

“If the Son of God be within thee, then also His Kingdom is within thee. Here then is the Kingdom of God – within thee, a sinner. Go inwards into thine self, search diligently and without toil thou shalt find it. Outside of thee – is death, and the door to it – is sin. Go inwards into thine self, dwell within thine heart, for since there – is God”. Constant spiritual sobriety, the developing of good within the soul of man gives unto him the possibility to take upon himself a task like blessedness, and a self-constraint like sanctity. The requital is presupposed in the earthly life of man, it is an undertaking by degrees of its spiritual perfection. Whoso grows himself wings upon the earth, says the Monk Ephrem, is one who soars up into the heights; whoso down here purifies his mind – there glimpses the Glory of God; in what measure each one loveth God – is that measure wherein is satiated to fullness by the love of God. Man, cleansing himself and attaining the grace of the Holy Spirit while still here, down upon the earth, has a foretaste therein of the Kingdom of Heaven. To attain to life eternal, in the teachings of the Monk Ephrem, does not mean to pass over from one sphere of being into another, but means rather to discover “the Heavenly” spiritual condition of being. Eternal life is not bestown man as a one-sided working by God, but rather like a seed, it constantly grows within him through effort, toil and struggle.

The pledge within us of “theosis” (“obozhenie” or “deification”) – is the Baptism of Christ, and the primal propulsion for the Christian life – is repentance. The Monk Ephrem was a great teacher of repentance. The forgiveness of sins in the sacramental-mystery of Repentance, according to his teaching, is not an external exoneration, not a forgetting of the sins, but rather their complete undoing, their annihilation. The tears of repentance wash away and burn away the sin. And moreover – they (i.e. the tears) vivify, they transfigure sinful nature, they give the strength “to walk in the way of the commandments of the Lord”, encouraging the hope on God. In the fiery font of Repentance, wrote the Monk, “thou dost sail thyself across, O sinner, thou dost resuscitate thyself from the dead”.

The Monk Ephrem, in his humility reckoning himself the least and worst of all, at the end of his life set out to Egypt, to see the efforts of the great ascetics. He was accepted there as a welcome guest and received for himself great solace in his associating with them. On the return journey he visited at Caesarea Cappadocia with Sainted Basil the Great (Comm. 1 January), who wanted to ordain him a priest, but the monk considered himself unworthy of priesthood, and at the insistence of Saint Basil, he accepted only the dignity of deacon, in which he remained until death. Even later on, Saint Basil the Great invited the Monk Ephrem to accept the cathedra-chair of a bishop, but the saint feigned folly to avoid for himself this honour, in humility reckoning himself unworthy of it.
Upon his return to his own Edessa wilderness, the Monk Ephrem intended to spend the rest of his life in solitude. But Divine Providence again summoned him to service of neighbour. The inhabitants of Edessa were suffering from a devastating famine. By the influence of his word, the monk induced the wealthy to render aid to those that lacked. From the offerings of believers he built a poor-house for the destitute and sick. The Monk Ephrem then withdrew to a cave nigh to Edessa, where he remained to the end of his days.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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Most of us do at least some looking back (retrospecting) around the end of the year. What went wrong, what went right, what do we want to change in the new year, and will we really carry through with those changes?

We mostly don’t do that unless there were some real BIG disasters. Generally, the Ol’ Curmudgeon and I make our analyses and resolutions at the time of the disaster.

Today we received in the mail a Christmas present from some very, very dear friends. It is a CD, and we opened it to be sure that’s what it was because they were asking if we had received it.

It is a beautifully packaged CD of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir doing Orthodox chants of the 17th and 18th centuries. Had to put it on. Shouldn’t have done that, or, perhaps it is a good thing we did. The first band was “Let my Prayer Arise” (in Old Church Slavonic). On about the second Refrain, I burst into tears. First, I cried out to God to forgive me. Then I rushed (well, “cripped my way”) downstairs to throw myself in the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s arms and beg his forgiveness! We are still in the Lenten period before the Nativity, and I was, and am, filled with remorse for all the things left undone, and all the wrong things done – both externally and internally.

We all are lax and don’t discipline ourselves sufficiently both in our spiritual lives and in our secular lives. In fact, we artificially divide our spiritual and secular lives as if they were two different things. But they are not. They are both our LIFE. Not both PARTS of our life, but both ARE our life. They should be intricately intermeshed so that they are indistinguishable. Yet, even we, the Orthodox, who, of all, should know better, separate our lives into the spiritual and secular.

God should be at the center of our lives, and all that we do should glorify Him. I was overwhelmed by my sin – by missing that mark for which I am aiming. I was overwhelmed by how far I miss the mark – every minute of every day. As an example, I read medical records and decipher whether someone “missed the mark” in caring for the patient. It is frequently my judgment that determines if a case is to be brought against the providers. Yet, all too frequently, I don’t pray about it before, during and after I read the records and write my report. It is these kinds of sins that overwhelmed me. Not making God the center of my life, not “integrating” my life into God.

So, like an Orthodox Christian, I shall get up once more, start anew, and try to “get it right” this time. Despite my trying, however, most likely I will fail because of my own shortcomings. But we are not called upon to do the impossible, simply to keep trying to do that which is “right” – which leads us closer to God.

May God have mercy upon us all.

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Mother of God, Prosperess of Loaves (Sporitelnitsa Khlebov) (Grower of Crops)

Mother of God, "Prosperess of Loaves" ("Sporitel'nitsa Khlebov") (Grower of Crops)

The Icon of the Mother of God, named “Prosperess of Loaves” (“Sporitel’nitsa Khlebov”), was written at the blessing of the starets-elder of the Visitation Optina wilderness monastery, the priest-schemamonk Amvrosii (Ambrosii) (23/XI/1812 – 10/X/1891). Father Amvrosii, a great Russian ascetic of the XIX Century, was ardent with a childlike faith towards the Mother of God. He in particular revered all the feastdays of the Mother of God and on these days he redoubled his prayer. With the icon, “Prosperess of Loaves”, Father Amvrosii blessed the Shamordinsk women’s monastery established in honour of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, and founded by him not far from the Optina monastery.

On this icon the Mother of God is depicted sitting upon the clouds, and Her hands are extended in blessing. Beneathe — is a compressed field, and on it amidst the grass and flowers stand and lay sheaves of rye. Starets Amvrosii himself decreed the day of celebration — 15 October, and called the image “Prosperess of Loaves”, indicating by this, that the Most Holy Mother of God — “is an Helper for people in their labours for the acquiring of their daily bread”. Before his blessed death, Father Amvrosii ordered a large quantity of photo-replicas of this icon and distributed and sent them off to his spiritual children. For the singing of an akathist before the holy image, the starets composed a particular response: “Hail, Thou Full-of-Grace, the Lord is with Thee! Grant unto us unworthy ones the dew of Thy grace and the showing forth of Thine mercy!”

The day of burial of Father Amvrosii happened on 15 October — the feastday of the icon. The first miracle from the holy icon was witnessed in 1891, when throughout Russia was a famine because of crop-failure, but in the Kaluzh district and on the fields of the Shamordinsk monastery grain was produced. In 1892, already after the death of Father Amvrosii, his attendant Ivan Feodorovich Cherepanov sent a copy from the icon to the Pyatnitsk women’s monastery in Voronezh district. In this locale there was a drought and famine threatened, but soon after a molieben served before the icon, “Prosperess of Loaves”, it rained and ended the drought.

On a more modern note, in 2008, there was drought in Texas. One devout Orthodox Christian, near Lubbock, TX, printed out and laminated a copy of this Icon from the internet. He placed it in a small shrine in his field, and prayed to the Theotokos for his crops to prosper. He was the only person in his district who had crops that were not stunted or destroyed by the drought. He was able to provide products for several of the markets in his area so that people had access to fresh vegetables of good size at a righteous price.

In these modern days, we often forget that prayers are answered; that God cares for us; that He listens to the prayers of people and especially of the Theotokos – the one who said “yes” to God and bore His only Son. “In one of the prayers at the Sixth Hour we ask the Mother of God to intercede with Jesus for us, “for the prayer of a Mother availeth much to the goodwill of the Lord.’ Indeed, yes,”(1) it does.

The Widow of Nain by Peter Sizer; Orthodox Research Institute

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St. Cosmas the Hymnographer, bishop of Maiuma (787)

Commemorated on October 14

He was from Jerusalem. An orphan, he was adopted into the family of St John of Damascus (commemorated December 4). He became Bishop of Maiuma, a city on the coast of Palestine, which was later named Constantia. Like his adoptive brother he became a noted hymnographer.

The Canon of the Cross (Sept. 14) and the Canon for Christ’s Nativity, “Christ is born, give ye glory…” are his compositions.

Canon of the Exaltation of the Cross
St.Cosmas of Maium
Irmosi (theme songs)
I. Moses, having with his rod made a long line, divided the Red Sea for Israel journeying on foot; and having again struck the same with a transverse blow, thus tracing the Cross which is the weapon invincible, he united it against the armies of Pharaoh. Wherefore we sing unto Christ our God, for He hath been glorified.
III The Rod is accepted as the symbol of a mystery; for by its budding-forth it designated the Priest; and in the Church,which of late was barren, there now hath budded forth the tree of the Cross for herpower and strengthening.
IV I have given heed to the mystery of thy dispensation, O Lord, I have understood thy works, and have glorified Thy Divinity.
V O Tree thrice blessed, whereon was crucified Christour King and our Lord! Through thee he is fallen who by a tree did beguile, having himself been beguiled by Him who was nailed upon thee in the flesh, even God, who granteth peace unto our souls.
VI. Jonah, when he stretched forth his arms in the form of a cross within the belly of the sea-monster, did clearly typify the Redeeming Suffering; and when he came forth thence after 3 days, he imaged forth by anticipation the supernatural Resurrection of Christ our God Who was crucified in the flesh, and hath illumined the world by His rising on the third day.
VII. The mad behest of the impious tyrant breathing forth threats and horrible blasphemies troubled the people; yet neither the brutal rage nor the roaring fire terrified the Three Children; but when, as they stood amid the flames, a dew-bearing breath was wafted against it, they sang: Blessed be Thou, O God of our fathers, exceedingly praised, and our God!
VIII. O Children, in number equal to the Trinity! Bless ye God the Father, the Creator; sing ye the word who came down and turned the fire into dew; and magnify ye the Spirit all-holy, who giveth life unto all men, unto all the ages.
In place of: My soul doth magnify the Lord: The refrains:
Magnify, O my soul, the all-precious Cross of the Lord.
Magnify, O my soul, the elevation of the life-giving Cross of the Lord.
IX. Thou art the mystical Paradise, O Birth-giver of God, who though untilled dodst bud forth Christ, by whom the life-bearing Tree of the Cross was planted upon earth. for which cause, now, at its Elevation, adoring it, we magnify Thee.

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Protection of the Theotokos at Blanchernae

Protection of the Theotokos at Blanchernae

The Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos

“Today the Virgin stands in the midst of the Church, and with choirs of Saints she invisibly prays to God for us. Angels and Bishops venerate Her, Apostles and prophets rejoice together, Since for our sake she prays to the Eternal God!”

This miraculous appearance of the Mother of God occurred in the mid-tenth century in Constantinople, in the Blachernae church where her robe, veil, and part of her belt were preserved after being transferred from Palestine in the fifth century.

On Sunday, October 1, during the All Night Vigil, when the church was overflowing with those at prayer, the Fool-for-Christ St Andrew (October 2), at the fourth hour, lifted up his eyes towards the heavens and beheld our most Holy Lady Theotokos coming through the air, resplendent with heavenly light and surrounded by an assembly of the Saints. St John the Baptist and the holy Apostle John the Theologian accompanied the Queen of Heaven. On bended knees the Most Holy Virgin tearfully prayed for Christians for a long time. Then, coming near the Bishop’s Throne, she continued her prayer.

After completing her prayer she took her veil and spread it over the people praying in church, protecting them from enemies both visible and invisible. The Most Holy Lady Theotokos was resplendent with heavenly glory, and the protecting veil in her hands gleamed “more than the rays of the sun.” St Andrew gazed trembling at the miraculous vision and he asked his disciple, the blessed Epiphanius standing beside him, “Do you see, brother, the Holy Theotokos, praying for all the world?” Epiphanius answered, “I do see, holy Father, and I am in awe.”

The Ever-Blessed Mother of God implored the Lord Jesus Christ to accept the prayers of all the people calling on His Most Holy Name, and to respond speedily to her intercession, “O Heavenly King, accept all those who pray to You and call on my name for help. Do not let them go away from my icon unheard.”

Saints Andrew and Epiphanius were worthy to see the Mother of God at prayer, and “for a long time observed the Protecting Veil spread over the people and shining with flashes of glory. As long as the Most Holy Theotokos was there, the Protecting Veil was also visible, but with her departure it also became invisible. After taking it with her, she left behind the grace of her visitation.”

At the Blachernae church, the memory of the miraculous appearance of the Mother of God was remembered. In the fourteenth century, the Russian pilgrim and clerk Alexander, saw in the church an icon of the Most Holy Theotokos praying for the world, depicting St Andrew in contemplation of her.

The Primary Chronicle of St Nestor reflects that the protective intercession of the Mother of God was needed because an attack of a large pagan Russian fleet under the leadership of Askole and Dir. The feast celebrates the divine destruction of the fleet which threatened Constantinople itself, sometime in the years 864-867 or according to the Russian historian Vasiliev, on June 18, 860. Ironically, this Feast is considered important by the Slavic Churches but not by the Greeks.

The Primary Chronicle of St Nestor also notes the miraculous deliverance followed an all-night Vigil and the dipping of the garment of the Mother of God into the waters of the sea at the Blachernae church, but does not mention Sts Andrew and Epiphanius and their vision of the Mother of God at prayer. These latter elements, and the beginnings of the celebrating of the Feast of the Protection, seem to postdate St Nestor and the Chronicle. A further historical complication might be noted under (October 2) dating St Andrew’s death to the year 936.

The year of death might not be quite reliable, or the assertion that he survived to a ripe old age after the vision of his youth, or that his vision involved some later pagan Russian raid which met with the same fate. The suggestion that St Andrew was a Slav (or a Scythian according to other sources, such as S. V. Bulgakov) is interesting, but not necessarily accurate. The extent of Slavic expansion and repopulation into Greece is the topic of scholarly disputes.

In the PROLOGUE, a Russian book of the twelfth century, a description of the establishment of the special Feast marking this event states, “For when we heard, we realized how wondrous and merciful was the vision… and it transpired that Your holy Protection should not remain without festal celebration, O Ever-Blessed One!”

Therefore, in the festal celebration of the Protection of the Mother of God, the Russian Church sings, “With the choirs of the Angels, O Sovereign Lady, with the venerable and glorious prophets, with the First-Ranked Apostles and with the Hieromartyrs and Hierarchs, pray for us sinners, glorifying the Feast of your Protection in the Russian Land.” Moreover, it would seem that St Andrew, contemplating the miraculous vision was a Slav, was taken captive, and became the slave of the local inhabitant of Constantinople named Theognostus.

Churches in honor of the Protection of the Mother of God began to appear in Russia in the twelfth century. Widely known for its architectural merit is the temple of the Protection at Nerl, which was built in the year 1165 by holy Prince Andrew Bogoliubsky. The efforts of this holy prince also established in the Russian Church the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, about the year 1164.

Church of the Protection of the Theotokkos on the Nerl - Russia

Church of the Protection of the Theotokkos on the Nerl - Bogolyubovo, Russia

At Novgorod in the twelfth century there was a monastery of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos (the so-called Zverin Monastery of the Intercession of Our Lady). In Moscow also under Tsar Ivan the Terrible the cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God was built at the church of the Holy Trinity (known as the church of St Basil the Blessed).

Cathedral of the Protection of the Theotokos AKA St. Basils Cathedral, Moscow Russia

Cathedral of the Protection of the Theotokos AKA St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow Russia

On the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos we implore the defense and assistance of the Queen of Heaven, “Remember us in your prayers, O Lady Virgin Mother of God, that we not perish by the increase of our sins. Protect us from every evil and from grievous woes, for in you do we hope, and the Feast of your Protection, we magnify you.”
Adapted from the website of the Protection of the Theotokos Orthodox Church; Billings MT

Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Lord our God, Save and Protect us!

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“O Pure Virgin”
by St. Nectarios of Aegina

Tone 5

(A, B, and C refer to the three distinct melodies within the hymn.)

(A) O pure and virgin Lady, / O spotless Theotokos: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O Virgin Queen and Mother / O dewey fleece most sacred: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(B) O height transcending heaven above / O beam of light most radiant: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O joy of chaste and virgin maids / surpassing all the angels: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(C) O brilliant light of heaven above / most clear and most radiant: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Commanding chief of heaven above / O holiest of holies: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(A) O ever-virgin Mary / O Mistress of creation: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O Bride all-pure and spotless / O Lady all-holy: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(B) O holy Mary, Bride and Queen / O cause of our rejoicing / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O Maiden Queen most hon’rable / O Mother most holy: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(C) More precious than the cherubim / more glorious than the seraphim: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Surpassing principalities / dominions, thrones and powers: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(A) Rejoice, song of the cherubim / Rejoice, hymn of the angels: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, ode of the seraphim / and joy of the archangels: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(B) Rejoice, o peace; Rejoice, o joy / and haven of salvation: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O bridal chamber of the Word / unfading, fragrant blossom: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(C) Rejoice, delight of paradise / Rejoice, life everlasting: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, o holy tree of life / and fount of immortality:  / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Theotokos of the Sign

Theotokos of the Sign

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I sing thy grace, O Sovereign Lady, and pray to thee to grace my mind. Teach me to step right in the way of Christ’s commandments. Strengthen me to keep awake in song and dispel the dream of despondency. Release me, bound with bonds of sin, O bride of God, by thy prayers. Guard me by night and also by day, and drive away my foes who defeat me. O Bearer of God, the Giver of Life, enliven me who am deadened by passions. O bearer of the unfailing Light, enlighten my blinded soul. O Marvellous Palace of the Master, make me a house of the Divine Spirit. O Mother of the Healer, heal the perennial passions of my soul. Guide me to the path of repentance, for I am tossed in the storm of life. Deliver me from eternal fire, from wicked war and from hell. Expose me guilty as I am of many sins. Renew me, grown old from senseless sins, O most Immaculate One. Present me untouched by all torments, and pray for me to the Lord of all. Grant me to receive the joys of Heaven with all the Saints. O most holy Virgin, hear the voice of thy unprofitable servant. Grant me torrents of tears, O most Pure One, to cleanse my soul from impurity. I offer the groans of my heart to Thee unceasingly. Strive for me, O Sovereign Lady. Accept my service of supplication and offer it to compassionate God. O thou who art above the Angels, raise me above this world’s confusion. O Light-bearing heavenly Tabernacle, direct the grace of the Spirit in me. I raise my hands and lips in thy praise, defiled as they are by impurity, O All-Immaculate One. Deliver me from soul-corrupting evils, and fervently intercede to Christ to Whom is due honour with adoration, now and ever, and to the ages of ages.
Amen.

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Would that I could make musicians out of stone, and dan­cers out of the sand of the lake, and minstrels out of the leaves of all the trees in the mountains, so that they might help me glorify the Lord-and so that the voice of the earth might be heard amidst the choirs of angels!

The sons of men gorge themselves at the table of the absent Master, and do not sing for anyone except themselves and their mouthfuls, which must eventually return to the earth.

Exceedingly sad is the blindness of the sons of men, who do not see the power and glory of the Lord. A bird lives in the forest, and does not see the forest. A fish swims in the water, and does not see the water. A mole lives in the earth, and does not see the earth. In truth, the similarity of man to birds, fish, and moles is exceedingly sad.

People, like animals, do not pay attention to what exists in excessive abundance, but only open their eyes before what is rare or exceptional.

There is too much of You, O Lord, my breath, therefore people do not see You. You are too obvious, O Lord, my sighing, therefore the attention of people is diverted from You and directed toward polar bears, toward rarities in the distance.

You serve Your servants too much, my sweet faithfulness, therefore You are subjected to scorn. You rise to kindle the sun over the lake too early, therefore sleepyheads cannot bear You. You are too zealous in lighting the vigil lamps in the firmament at night, my unsurpassed zeal, and the lazy heart of people talks more about an indolent servant than about zeal.

O my love, would that I could motivate all the inhabitants of the earth, water, and air to hum a hymn to You! Would that I could remove leprosy from the face of the earth and turn this wanton world back into the sort of virgin that You created!

Truly, my God, You are just as great with or without the world.

You are equally great whether the world glorifies You or whether the world blasphemes You. But when the world blas­phemes You, You seem even greater in the eyes of Your saints.

From: ” St. Nicholai (Velimirovic), Prayers by the Lake

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News Release:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 10:51 a.m.

Wild Fires threaten Saint Herman of Alaska Monastery
in Platina, California

Prayer Request
His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western American Diocese urges all of our Orthodox faithful to offer prayers for the protection of the St. Herman of Alaska Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Platina, California. Wild fires are quickly approaching the Monastery grounds and the Monastery is in great danger of being burned down. The Monastic Community has been evacuated and are seeking refuge in the neighboring parish of Redding, California.

St. Herman\'s Monastery, Platina CA

Update
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 – 5:37 p.m.

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

The Monks have evacuated from Platina and are now in Redding with us (St. Andrew’s). They brought down all of their vehicles loaded with possessions of the Monastery. They are collected at one parishioners home right now and we will be finding them accommodations this evening. The fires are still raging. The forest Service just set a back fire on Noble Ridge (the winds were favorable) as a mans of cutting out fuel for the main fire to go over the Ridge. The smoke at Platina was so thick you could barely see or breathe. We will be having Vespers and Compline at St. Andrews tonight.

The nuns at St. Xenia Skete are still there and have not had to evacuate yet, but are on high alert. Two of our parishioners went up today with trucks to bring down Monastery possessions to Redding We still are awaiting to see what they will be doing.

The Monastics will probably be staying in Redding for a while, secondary to the extreme fire conditions (over 875 fires are going in Northern California from a Saturday lightening strike) and the smoke is quite thick. The sky in Redding is like overcast with ash falling.

Please keep them all in your prayers. We ask God’s help to send relief to the Monastics, the fire fighters and others made homeless.

Thank you for your prayers and blessings to all of you,

Visitors at the Monastery

 

Fr. Michael Boyle, Parish Priest
St. Andrew Fool-for-Christ Serbian Orthodox Mission Parish Redding, California

St. Herman\'s Monastery

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I was hopefully looking forward to at least attending one of the Liturgies of Bright Week. Any weekday Liturgies are a little shorter (and less populated) than Sunday liturgies. During Bright Week, the Beautiful Doors remain open, the Deacon Doors remain open, the Curtains are open, all the lights are on, At the end of the Liturgy, the is a procession with banners, around the Church, stopping at each of the four corners to read the Gospel – to proclaim the Gospel to each of the 4 Corners of the Earth. While I would not be able to take part in the procession, the Liturgy would be marvelous – such a balm, such a medicine to my soul!

But am unable to go. On Tuesday I developed shingles on the right side of my waist toward my back, and I cannot put my back braces on. I can’t even wear anything with a waistband. I can hardly sit in my chair or lie in bed. Shingles hurts! And it itches, but I don’t dare scratch! If I touch the area, it hurts, aches, and burns and prickles (actually, prickles is too trivial a word for the sensation, but I don’t know what other one to use) – and the sensations persevere for several minutes after any touch. Continuous touch doesn’t mean the sensations decrease – rather, the discomfort (discomfort? AGONY!) increases the entire time the area is being touched by anything. Spraying the area with Benzocaine or similar products doesn’t help. I’ve had this before, and it just has to “run it’s course.”

Yes – I’m taking an antiviral medication. Yes – I started it early. But it still has to run it’s course. 10 days to 2 weeks. No, I’m not “contagious.”

So Bright Week is being spent as Great Lent was spent – and Holy Week was spent and Pascha was spent – watching bits and pieces of Liturgies on Youtube, and listening to CDs. Searching the internet for [octires pf Icons and the interiors of Churches.

From time to time I have a “pity party,” but most of the time I am grateful – I am blessed that I live in an age when the technology is here to allow me – and others – who are shut-ins to at least have bits and pieces of the Feasts and Fasts of the Church. I have to say, however, that I wish one – or more – of the Russian Churches would have a live streaming video of their services on the Web and maintain an archive for a few weeks for those who can’t “be there” live. There is a real need for this kind of outreach ministry. It wouldn’t be the same as “being there,” of course, but it would be even better than CDs. (Not that CDs are not needed!)

To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement. Crushed is more like it. But God is Good, and I’ll get over my paltry emotional reaction. And I will try to remember the words of the Akathist Hymn – Glory to God for All Things:

Ikos I

Into the world I was born as a weak, helpless child, but Thy Angel spread wings of light over me, guarding my crib. Ever since then Thy love lights all my paths, wonderfully guiding me towards the light of eternity. Gloriously, the generous gifts of Thy Providence have been manifest from the very first day. I am thankful to Thee and with all who have come to know Thee, call out:

Glory to Thee, Who called me to life,
Glory to Thee, Who hast shown me the beauty of the universe,
Glory to Thee, Who hast opened before me the sky and the earth as an eternal book of wisdom,
Glory to the eternity of Thee, in the midst of the world of time,
Glory to Thee, for Thy hidden and evident goodness,
Glory to Thee, for every sigh of my sadness,
Glory to Thee, for every step of my life, for every moment of joy,
Glory to Thee, O God, unto the ages of ages.

Mother of God Tenderness Pskov

I am blessed – blessed beyond my understanding. I simply MUST learn to recognize my blessings in all my days and all my hours and all my minutes.

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St. Ephraim of Syria’s 55 Beatitudes # 48 – 55:

Blessed the one who has kept the mastery of his eyelids and has not deceived himself with either mind or senses with regard to the skin of the flesh that after a little while oozes putrefaction.

Blessed the one who has before his eyes the day of departure and has hated pride, before the weakness our nature has been proved as it rots in the tomb.

Blessed the one who considers those who sleep in their coffins in graves and has rejected every foul smelling desire, for he will rise in glory when the heavenly trumpet sounds, rousing all the children of humankind from sleep.

Blessed the one who observes with spiritual understanding the choirs of stars shining with glory and the beauty of the heavens and longs to contemplate the Maker of all things.

Blessed the one who keeps in mind the fire that came down on Mount Sinai and the sounds of the trumpets and Moses standing there with fear and trembling and who does not neglect his own salvation.

Blessed the one who does not set his hope on man, but on the Lord, who is coming again in great glory to judge the universe with justice, for he will be like a tree planted by waters and will not fail to bear fruit.

Blessed the one whose thought has been with grace, like a cloud filled with rain, and which waters souls for the increase of fruits of life; his praise will be for everlasting glory.

Blessed are those who watch according to God continually, for they will be overshadowed by God in the day of judgement, becoming sons of the bridal chamber, in joy and gladness they will see the Bridegroom. But I and my like, idle and pleasure-loving, will weep and lament as we watch our brothers in everlasting glory, while we are in torments.

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How marvelous is the true Son of God! The One who is not of shadow but of light. The One who represents the existent Triad and not the nonexistent triad.

How He has supported His wisdom with blessed virginity and powerful light, like the dome of a church with walls of marble!

The Dominions, Powers, and Authorities never take their eyes off Him. The Principalities, Archangels and Angels are His servants.

Like the milk and honey that flow in the Promised Land,1 so wisdom flows from His lips.

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.2 I do not ask you what you have but what you are. If you are children of light to such a degree that there is no darkness in any member of your body, then your possession is the Father of Light.

“Blessed are you in your treasure, if everything you possess is in the Father of Light. I say to you, even your essence will be in Him. You who have extensive holdings in earthly real estate, beware, lest you become the property of your own real estate.

“Beware lest that which you have been from the beginning becomes that which you have possessed since yesterday. Truly I tell you, you will become slaves of darkness and light will forget you.

“Possessions and close relatives are your enemies. They tie you to this world, and they close the gates of heaven to you.

“Do not bury your heart in earthly property, for beneath the earth it will decay. Offer up your heart to God — as a gift to the Gift-Giver, and your possessions will become your harmless slave instead of your harmful master.

“Do not give your whole heart to relatives, for they will devour it — and will remain hungry.

“Instead give your whole heart to the Holy Spirit, and He will nourish your relatives with richer nourishment. In this way your relatives will be related to you, not only because flesh and blood bind you, but because the Holy Spirit binds you. And the Spirit has no bonds except everlasting ones.”

O my penitent soul, choose! Do you prefer to exist or to possess? If you prefer to exist, your possessions will amount to no less than God. If you prefer to possess, your existence will be no greater than the moonlight in the depths of the lake.

O Son of God, help my soul not to err and not to choose destruction.
_________________________________________________________
1. Cf. Ex. 3:8.
2. Matt. 6:21.

From: Prayers by the Lake by St. Nikolai of Ohrid and Zica, Translated and Annotated by: Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Todor Mika, S.T.M. and Very Rev. Dr. Stevan Scott # 164

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What is it about a blank page that makes my mind go blank? I think of so many things to publish here when I’m NOT sitting here trying to get my blog entry done on time!!

Yes, I keep a folder full of “ideas,” and I have some sites bookmarked for memes and things, but none of them look “right” for tonight.

It is a little over 1/2 way through Great Lent, and everything is a struggle. I’m hungry all the time. I’m thirsty all the time. I’m antsy, can’s settle down to pray. It’s just awful. About all I can do is pull out my beautiful new chotki (prayer rope) and say some knots of Jesus Prayers. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

I wear my chotki on my left wrist. Each time the cross-tassel flaps against my hand, I try to remember to say a Jesus Prayer. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

This is a 50-knot chotki. There is a sterling silver bead half-way through. The change in the bead/knot textures keep me grounded in the here-and-now. Otherwise I would become so buried in the Jesus Prayer that I would not stop. Eventually someone would interrupt me, but this kind of mindless saying of the Jesus Prayer is not what it’s all about. It’s about thinking the prayer, praying the prayer thoughtfully, knowing what you are doing. This is the same reason one should not gaze at an Icon too long – you can “fall into” the Icon and mindlessly be intrigued with it’s beauty or the paint marks. It is in these mindless moments that evil can enter our minds and our hearts. So it is critical to keep our thoughtful faculties sharp, especially when we say the Jesus Prayer or pray before an Icon.

Interesting how contemplating a blank page has led me back to where I should be – at the foot of the Cross. Lent is a hard struggle. Sometimes for those of us who cannot fast “normally” it is even harder than for those who can. But a blank page brought me to where I need to be. Saying my prayers.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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In the Orthodox Church, we have a very orderly, disciplined approach to worship – despite the glorious disorder of the services.

Each day of the week has its own significance and special prayers and hymns. Prayers and hymns are recited and chanted pertaining to the commemoration of each day. This cycle is not based on a natural cycle, since the seven-day week does not appear in nature. The week was given to us by God in a direct revelation. While the different themes of the weekly cycle are repeated every week, the actual hymns that express these themes are divided into an eight-week cycle based upon the eight musical modes or tones of the Church’s musical system. This means that the volume of liturgical material that makes up the weekly cycle is so large that only after eight weeks is this material again repeated.

The hymns of the weekly cycle are collected into one large book—which often divided into two volumes. This book is called the Octoechos or Book of the Eight Tones, which is often printed in two volumes.

The most important day of the week is the first day, which we call Sunday, but is also known as the Lord’s day. On this day, every week, the Church commemorates Christ’s resurrection. This is such an important day liturgically, that it’s always celebrated just like a great feast—that is, it always has a vigil the evening before. Sunday is so important that it almost never gives place to any other commemoration. The only possible exceptions are the great feasts of the Lord, which always take precedence—even over Sundays.

The character of Sunday is always festive, so during fast seasons the fast is always relaxed to a certain extent on Sunday. Thus, during Great Lent oil and wine are always allowed on Sundays, and during the other, lesser lenten periods fish is almost always permitted.

The second day—Monday—is dedicated to the Angels—the bodiless hosts. Most monastics and even some pious laymen keep this day as a voluntary fast day. By fasting, they deny the needs of the body and in this small way they strive to imitate those heavenly beings who are bodiless by nature.

The third day—Tuesday—is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Christ Himself said that there was no greater man born of woman, and the Church recognizes this greatness by giving the Forerunner a special place in the weekly cycle.

The fourth day—Wednesday—is dedicated to the Holy Cross of the Lord. It was on this day that Judas agreed to betray Christ, thus setting in motion the events of the Passion. This is a fast day which is obligatory for all Orthodox Christians.

The fifth day—Thursday—is dedicated to the holy Apostles and also to Saint Nicholas. The fact that Saint Nicholas has been given a place in the weekly cycle indicates the great veneration that the Church accords him.

The sixth day—Friday—which is the day of Christ’s crucifixion, is again dedicated to the Holy Cross. Like Wednesday, it is a fast day for all Orthodox Christians.

The seventh day—Saturday—is dedicated to the Mother of God – the Theotokos – to all the saints and also to all the faithful departed. Saturday was the day of rest in Old Testament times and always had a festal character. The Church has maintained this festal character to a certain extent in its liturgical practice. We can also see this by the fact that during fasting seasons the Church’s fasting rules are exactly the same for Saturdays as they are for Sundays.

The weekly cycle is always used in conjunction with the yearly cycle, but the amount of liturgical material from the weekly cycle that is used on any particular day can vary significantly from day to day. At one end of the scale the weekly cycle dominates. And at the other end, it is completely suppressed in favor of the yearly cycle.

Each day has it’s own special “songs” called a Troparion and a Kontakion. On Sunday, we will chant one of 8 sets of Troparia and Kontakia depending on the weekly cycle.

Daily Troparia and Kontakia

MONDAY
Commemoration of the Holy Angels.

Troparion: Supreme Leaders of the Heavenly Hosts, we implore you that by your prayers you will encircle us, unworthy as we are, with the protection of the wings of your immaterial glory, and guard us who fall down I before you and fervently cry: Deliver us from dangers, for you are the commanders of the Powers above.

Kontakion: Supreme Leaders of God’s armies and ministers of the divine glory, princes of the bodiless Angels and guides of men, ask what is good for us and great mercy, as Supreme Leaders of the Bodiless Hosts.

TUESDAY
Commemoration of St. John the Baptist.

Troparion: The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord’s testimony is enough for thee, O Forerunner, for thou wast shown to be more wonderful than the Prophets since thou wast granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom thou didst proclaim. Then having endured great suffering for the Truth, thou didst rejoice to bring, even to those in hell, the good tidings that God Who had appeared in the flesh takes away the sin of the world and grants us the great mercy.

Kontakion: O Prophet of God and Forerunner of Grace, having obtained thy head from the earth as a most sacred rose, we are always receiving healings; for still as of old in the world thou preachest repentance.

WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY
Commemoration of the Cross and Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Troparion: O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory over their enemies to Orthodox Christians, and protect Thy people with Thy Cross.

Kontakion: O Christ our God, Who wast voluntarily lifted up on the Cross, grant Thy mercies to Thy new people named after Thee. Gladden with Thy power Orthodox Christians and give them victory over their enemies. May they have as an ally that invincible trophy, Thy weapon of peace.

THURSDAY
Commemoration of the Holy Apostles and St. Nicholas.

Troparion: Holy Apostles, intercede with our merciful God, that He may grant to our souls the forgiveness of our sins.

Kontakion to St. Nicholas: The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, a model of meekness, and a teacher of temperance. Therefore thou hast won the heights by humility, riches by poverty. Holy Father Nicholas, intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

Koniakion to the Holy Apostles: Thou hast taken the firm and divinely inspired Preachers, O Lord, the top Apostles, for the enjoyment of Thy blessings and for repose. For Thou hast accepted their labours and death as above every burnt offering, O Thou Who alone knowest the secrets of our hearts.

SATURDAY
Commemoration of the Mother of God, all Saints, the Faithful Departed.

Troparion for all Saints: Apostles, Martyrs, and Prophets, holy Hierarchs, Saints and Righteous, having fought the good fight and kept the faith you have boldness towards the Saviour. Intercede for us with Him, for He is good, we pray, that He may save our souls.

Troparion for the Faithful Departed: Remember the souls of Thy servants, O Lord, for Thou art good, and insofar as they sinned in this life, forgive them; for no one is sinless but Thee, Who canst also give rest to the departed.

Kontakion for the Faithful Departed: With the Saints, give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sighing, but life everlasting.

Kontakion for Martyrs: The world offers to Thee, O Lord, as the Father of creation, the God-bearing Martyrs as the first-fruits of nature. By their prayers through the Mother of God keep Thy Church in deep peace, O Most Merciful One.

Sunday

Sunday Troparia and Kontakia

TONE 1:

Troparion: When the stone had been sealed by the Jews and when the soldiers were guarding Thy pure Body, O Saviour, Thou didst rise on the third day and give life to the world. Therefore, the Powers of Heaven cried to Thee, O Giver of life: Glory to Thy Resurrection, O Christ! Glory to Thy Kingdom! Glory to Thy Providence, O only Lover of men!

Kontakion: Thou didst rise as God from the tomb with glory and with Thyself didst raise the world, and the nature of men sings to Thee as God, and death has vanished, and Adam dances for joy, O Lord, and Eve, now freed from her fetters rejoices, crying: Thou, O Christ, art He Who givest to all resurrection.

TONE 2:

Troparion: When Thou, the Deathless Life, didst go down to death, then didst Thou slay hell by the lightning flash of Thy divinity. And when Thou didst raise the dead from the lower world, all the Powers of Heaven cried aloud: Christ our God, Giver of life, glory to Thee.

Kontakion: Thou didst rise from the tomb, all-powerful Saviour, and seeing the miracle, hell was terrified, and the dead rose, whilst creation at the sight of it rejoices with Thee, and Adam exults, and the world, O my Saviour, ever sings to Thee.

TONE 3:

Troparion: Let the Heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, for the Lord has done a mighty act with His arm. He has trampled death by death and become the First-born of the dead, He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted the world His great mercy.

Kontakion: Thou didst rise today from the grave, O Merciful One, and hast led us out of the gates of death. Today Adam dances for joy and Eve rejoices, and with them the Prophets and Patriarchs unceasingly sing of the divine triumph of Thy power.

TONE 4:

Troparion: When the women disciples of the Lord learned from the Angel the glad tidings of the Resurrection and cast off the ancestral curse, they exultingly told the Apostles: Death is despoiled, Christ our God has risen and is giving the world the great mercy.

Kontakion: My Saviour and Deliverer from the grave, as God, raised the earth-born from their chains, and shattered the gates of hell; and He rose as Lord on the third day.

TONE 5:

Troparion: Let us, the faithful, praise and adore the Word, co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, Who for our salvation was born of a Virgin. For He was pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh, and to endure death, and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.

Kontakion: Thou didst descend into hell, my Saviour, and having shattered its gates, as All Powerful, Thou didst raise the dead with Thyself, as Creator, and didst deliver Adam from the curse, O Lover of men. Therefore, we all cry to Thee: Save us, O Lord.

TONE 6:

Troparion: The Angelic Hosts were before Thy tomb, the guards became as dead men, and Mary stood in the sepulchre looking for Thy pure Body. Thou didst despoil hell, for Thou wast not tempted by it. Thou didst come and meet the Virgin to give life. O Lord, Who didst rise from the dead, glory to Thee.

Kontakion: Having raised all the dead from the valleys of darkness by His life-giving hand, Christ our God granted resurrection to the human dough. For He is the Saviour of all, the Resurrection and Life and God of all.

TONE 7:

Troparion: Thou hast destroyed death by Thy Cross, Thou hast opened Paradise to the thief. Thou hast changed the lamentation of the Myrrbearers into joy, and Thou hast commanded Thine Apostles to proclaim that Thou, O Christ our God, hast risen and grantest the world the great mercy.

Kontakion: No longer can the dominion of death hold mortals, for Christ has come down and has shattered and broken its power. Hell is bound, and the Prophets rejoice with one voice, saying: The Saviour has appeared to those who have faith. Come out, you faithful, for the Resurrection.

TONE 8:

Troparion: Thou didst come down from on high, Merciful Saviour, and accept burial for three days, that Thou mightest free us from our passions. O Lord, our Life and Resurrection, glory to Thee.

Kontakion: Having risen from the tomb, Thou didst raise the dead and resurrect Adam, and Eve dances with joy at Thy Resurrection. And all the ends of the earth keep festival at Thy Rising from the dead, O Most Merciful One.

We have cycles built upon cycles built upon cycles. No two weeks are exactly alike, and no two years are exactly alike. We don’t have complete, identical repetition of all cycles for something like 492 years (someone correct me!).

Much of the foregoing was cribbed from:

Myriobiblos

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (Goarch)

 Orthodox Wiki

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O Christ, the ocean of our forgiveness,
allow me to wash off
in Thee
the dirt I am clothed in,
so that I may become resplendent
in the raiment of Thy holy light.
May I be covered with the cloud of Thy hidden glory,
full of secret mysteries.
May the things which divert me
from gazing upon Thy beauty
not be visible to me.
May wonder at Thy glory
captivate me continually,
may my mind become unable to set in motion
wordly impulses
May nothing ever separate me from Thy love,
but rather may that desire
which is in Thee,
to behold Thy countenance
harrow me continually.
Prayer of John the Elder (John of Dalyatha)
of the Syriac Orthodox Church

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A HYMN AT NIGHT, AFTER FAILURE TO KEEP VOW.

eyeusamhn se thn alhqeian, loge,
(Iambic trimeter.)

O Thou, the Word of truth divine!
All light I have not been,
Nor kept the day as wholly Thine;
For Thou dark spots hast seen.

The day is down: night hath prevailed:
My Lord I have belied;
I vowed, and thought to do, but failed;
My steps did somewhere slide.

There came a darkness from below
Obscuring safety’s way.
Thy light, O Christ, again bestow;
Turn darkness into day.

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