Monthly Archives: September 2009

Interesting difference in prayers

I’ve been looking at the presentation of the Prayers of Thanksgiving After Holy Communion as presented in different Orthodox prayer books, and have run across some interesting variants in different editions.

The variation occurs with the theotokion following the troparion and kontakion determined by the Saint whose Liturgy was just celebrated (St John Chrysostom, St Basil the Great, St Gregory the Dialogist).

For instance, in the Jordanville Prayer Book, the theotokion here is a beautiful one: “O protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, O mediation unto the Creator unfailing, disdain not the suppliant voices of sinners; but be thou quick, O good one, to help us who in faith cry unto thee; hasten to intercession and speed thou to make supplication, thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee.” (In Greek, this theotokion begins, “Προστασια των Χριστιανων…”.) This appears to be the most common usage, to have some form of this kontakion used in this position. For instance, this appears in The Liturgikon produced by the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, though as a footnote, with yet another variation in the main text, which is related to the recommended kontakion mentioned on the SCOBA site: “The Church is revealed to all as a brilliantly lit heaven, leading the faithful in the way of the light. Standing therein we cry aloud: make firm the foundation of this house, Lord.” This one also appears (though my memory may be playing a trick on me) in this place in the Greek-English Liturgikon published by Narthex Press (which is very nice, by the way).

In the Holy Transfiguration Monastery Prayer Book (which I generally prefer), instead of a theotokion is simply this supplication: “By the intercession, O Lord, of all the Saints and the Theotokos, do Thou grant us Thy peace and have mercy on us, since Thou alone art compassionate.” I contacted the Holy Transfiguration Monastery, and received a prompt reply from Fr Parthenius there, stating that in the typica, such minor variations are many. Their choice has been to find the usage in older, reputable sources, and to follow those. (He didn’t know the specifics in this case.) This is a very helpful and illuminating answer, and a comforting one. So, the HTM Prayer Book’s usage is certainly an old one.

Our brand new priest (new for us, that is) is having these prayers read after the Liturgy, which is a very welcome practice! (Now we’ll just have to get people used to staying for them, rather than rushing off to the coffee hour!) He’s using the Antiochian Liturgikon, which is a nice translation, but I think with a little searching, I’ll be able to find the HTM version of Προστασια των Χριστιανων so that I can simply use my little HTM Prayer Book to follow along and/or read (we read them in English, I should have mentioned). In any case, I’m happy for these prayers now becoming a regular part of our parish life. I certainly had not been consistent at all in praying them, though I really wanted to be. Now I have that opportunity, and we can do it all together, like one of those beautifully admirable Russian parishes!

Another new thing will be a Paraklisis every Wednesday evening followed by a Bible Study, starting next week. What a great thing that’ll be! Next thing you know, we’ll have a whole mess o’ services all week, and I’ll be happy as a clam.

Posted in Eastern Orthodoxy | 3 Comments

Meditations on a Name

Jesus, most wonderful, Astonishment of Angels.
Jesus, most powerful, Deliverance of Forefathers.
Jesus, most sweet, Exultation of Patriarchs.
Jesus, most glorious, Dominion of kings.
Jesus, most desired, Fulfilment of Prophets.
Jesus, most praised, Steadfastness of Martyrs.
Jesus, most gladsome, Comfort of monastics.
Jesus, most compassionate, Sweetness of presbyters.
Jesus, most merciful, Abstinence of fasters.
Jesus, most tender, Joy of the righteous.
Jesus, most pure, Sobriety of virgins.
Jesus, pre-eternal, Salvation of sinners.
Jesus, God before the ages.
Jesus, King almighty.
Jesus, Master long-suffering.
Jesus, Saviour most merciful.
Jesus, my Guardian most kind.
Jesus, be gracious unto my sins.
Jesus, take away my iniquities,
Jesus, pardon my unrighteousness.
Jesus, my Hope, forsake me not.
Jesus, my Helper, reject me not.
Jesus, my Creator, forget me not.
Jesus, my Shepherd, lose me not.
Jesus, invincible Power.
Jesus, unending Mercy.
Jesus, radiant Beauty.
Jesus, unspeakable Love.
Jesus, Son of the living God.
Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Jesus, hearken unto me who was conceived in iniquity.
Jesus, cleanse me who was born in sin.
Jesus, teach me who am become foolish.
Jesus, enlighten me who am darkened.
Jesus, purify me who am defiled.
Jesus, restore me, the prodigal.
Jesus, Creator of those on high.
Jesus, Redeemer of those below.
Jesus, Vanquisher of the nethermost powers.
Jesus, Adorner of every creature.
Jesus, Comforter of my soul.
Jesus, Enlightener of my mind.
Jesus, Gladness of my heart.
Jesus, Health of my body.
Jesus, my Saviour, save me.
Jesus, my Light, enlighten me.
Jesus, from all torment deliver me.
Jesus, save me who am unworthy.
Jesus, true God.
Jesus, Son of David.
Jesus, glorious King.
Jesus, innocent Lamb.
Jesus, Shepherd most marvellous.
Jesus, Protector of mine infancy.
Jesus, Guide of my youth.
Jesus, Boast of mine old age.
Jesus, my Hope at death.
Jesus, my Life after death.
Jesus, my Comfort at Thy judgment.
Jsesus, my Desire, let me not then be ashamed.
Jesus, Truth dispelling falsehood.
Jesus, Light transcending every light.
Jesus, King surpassing all in strength.
Jesus, God constant in mercy.
Jesus, Bread of life, fill me who am hungry.
Jesus, Well-spring of knowledge, refresh me who am thirsty.
Jesus, Garment of gladness, clothe me who am naked.
Jesus, Haven of joy, shelter me who am unworthy.
Jesus, Giver to those who ask, grant me mourning for my sins.
Jesus, Finder of those who seek, find my soul.
Jesus, Opener to those who knock, open my hardened heart.
Jesus, Redeemer of sinners, wash away my sins.
Jesus, Word uncontainable.
Jesus, Intelligence unfathomed.
Jesus, Power incomprehensible.
Jesus, Wisdom immeasurable.
Jesus, Divinity indepictable.
Jesus, Dominion unbounded.
Jesus, Kingdom invincible.
Jesus, Sovereignty unending.
Jesus, Strength sublime.
Jesus, Authority everlasting.
Jesus, my Creator, fashion me anew.
Jesus, Sweetness of my heart.
Jesus, Stength of my body.
Jesus, Light of my soul.
Jesus, Alacrity of my mind.
Jesus, Gladness of my conscience.
Jesus, Hope unexcelled.
Jesus, Remembrance everlasting.
Jesus, Praise most exalted.
Jesus, my Glory most sublime.
Jesus, my Desire, reject me not.
Jesus, my Shepherd, seek me out.
Jesus, God of gods.
Jesus, King of kings.
Jesus, Lord of lords.
Jesus, Judge of the living and the dead.
Jesus, Hope of the despairing.
Jesus, Comfort of the mourning.
Jesus, Provision of the poor.
Jesus, condemn me not according to my deeds.
Jesus, cleanse me according to Thy mercy.
Jesus, dispel my despondency.
Jesus, enlighten the thoughts of my heart.
Jesus, make me ever mindful of death.
Jesus, Treasure unfailing.
Jesus, Wealth inexpendable.
Jesus, Food most substantial.
Jesus, Drink inexhaustible.
Jesus, Raiment of the poor.
Jesus, Defender of widows.
Jesus, Protector of orphans.
Jesus, Champion of those in hardships.
Jesus, Companion of those who journey.
Jesus, Pilot of voyagers.
Jesus, Calm Haven of the tempest-tossed.
Jesus, raise me who am fallen.
Jesus, my King supremely powerful.
Jesus, my God omnipotent.
Jesus, my Lord immortal.
Jesus, my Creator most glorious.
Jesus, my Guide supreme in goodness.
Jesus, my Shepherd most compassionate.
Jesus, my Master rich in mercy.
Jesus, my Saviour, Friend of man.
Jesus, enlighten my senses darkened by passions.
Jesus, heal my body wounded by sins.
Jesus, cleanse my mind from vain thoughts.
Jesus, preserve my heart from evil desires.
Jesus, King of peace, bestow Thy peace upon me.
Jesus, sweet-scented Flower, make me fragrant.
Jesus, longed-for Warmth, warm Thou me.
Jesus, eternal Temple, shelter me.
Jesus, resplendent Garment, adorn me.
Jesus, Pearl of great price, enrich me.
Jesus, precious Stone, illumine me.
Jesus, Sun of Righteousness, shine on me.
Jesus, holy Light, make me radiant.
Jesus, deliver me from infirmity of soul and body.
Jesus, rescue me from the hands of the adversary.
Jesus, save me from the everlasting torments.
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me.

Selections from The Akathist Hymn to our Sweetest Lord Jesus Christ, translated by Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Brookline)

Posted in Eastern Orthodoxy | 6 Comments

A great new blog

Some readers will have noticed the book that I still have in my “Currently Reading” spot to the right here: Anders Gerdmar’s Roots of Theological Anti-semitism (Brill, 2009), which I’ve posted some notes on already.

Well, just tonight I happily received a message from Anders Gerdmar himself, informing me (and thereby you, dear reader) of his new blog: Anders Gerdmar―Exegetical Notes and Blog. Some of his work in progress relates to the Jews in the Gospel According to John, of which depiction he says, and which I think any informed reader will agree with, “the picture is far more complex than is currently assumed.” He’s also working on another book with the working title The ‘Jew’ as the Perpetual Other, of which he says:

Christian exegesis has more often than not constructed the ‘Jew’ as the perpetual other. In a forthcoming book with this working title, I begin in New Testament texts, looking for how they describe the relationship to Jews and Judaism. Secondly, I follow the history of exegesis in relation to the Jews, talking about a ‘hermeneutics of exclusion’. Finally I discuss the linkage between exegetical theology and genocide, but not only that. I try to outline a ‘hermeneutics of association’, starting in Romans 9–11.

Very interesting!

Anyhow, if you were interested in my posts here related to the subject of his book or his book itself, I’m sure you’ll enjoy his blog, as well.

Posted in Biblical Studies | Leave a comment

These vespers of another year

The sylvan slopes with corn-clad fields
Are hung, as if with golden shields,
Bright trophies of the sun!
Like a fair sister of the sky,
Unruffled doth the blue lake lie,
The mountains looking on.

And, sooth to say, yon vocal grove,
Albeit uninspired by love,
By love untaught to ring,
May well afford to mortal ear
An impulse more profoundly dear
Than music of the Spring.

For that from turbulence and heat
Proceeds, from some uneasy seat
In nature’s struggling frame,
Some region of impatient life:
And jealousy, and quivering strife,
Therein a portion claim.

This, this is holy;—while I hear
These vespers of another year,
This hymn of thanks and praise,
My spirit seems to mount above
The anxieties of human love,
And earth’s precarious days.

But list!—though winter storms be nigh,
Unchecked is that soft harmony:
There lives Who can provide
For all His creatures; and in Him,
Even like the radiant Seraphim,
These choristers confide.

William Wordsworth
September 1819

Posted in Poetry | 4 Comments

Get some millstones ready

The “Organization Claiming Autocephaly” is up to some “interesting” things yet again.

You may read the details at Vara Drezhlo’s blog: here and here.

This has been going on for well over a year now, and it is unresolved. This kind of behavior is scandalous, utterly scandalous, the laying of stones in front of the trusting and the blind alike in order to trip them. And for what? Have they forgotten Who they work for?

Please remember that family in your prayers, and all the souls affected by this, that they might not be driven away from the Church by this kind of behavior!

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18.6)

Posted in Eastern Orthodoxy | 43 Comments


Lord, make me coy and tender to offend:
In frienship first I think if that agree,
                    Which I intend,
          Unto my friend’s intent and end.
I would not use a friend, as I use Thee.

If any touch my friend, or his good name,
It is my honour and my love to free
                    His blasted fame
          From the least spot or thought of blame.
I could not use a friend as I use Thee.

My friend may spit upon my curious floor:
Would he have gold? I lend it instantly;
                    But let the poor,
          And Thou within them starve at door.
I cannot use a friend, as I use Thee.

When that my friend pretendeth to a place,
I quit my interest, and leave it free:
                    But when Thy grace
          Sues for my heart, I Thee displace,
Nor would I use a friend as I use Thee.

Yet can a friend what Thou hast done fulfil?
O write in brass, My God upon a tree
                    His blood did spill
          Only to purchase my good-will:
Yet use I not my foes, as I use Thee.

George Herbert, 1633

Posted in Poetry | Leave a comment

For Love

Ἄξιόν ἐστίν ὡς ἀληθῶς,
μακαρίζειν σε τὴν Θεοτόκον,
τὴν ἀειμακάριστον καὶ παναμώμητον,
καὶ Μητέρα τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶ͂ν.
Τὴν τιμιωτέραν τῶ͂ν Χερουβὶμ,
καὶ ἐνδοξοτέραν ἀσυγκρίτως τῶ͂ν Σεραφίμ,
τὴν ἀδιαφθόρως Θεὸν Λόγον τεκοῦσαν,
τὴν ὄντως Θεοτόκον σε μεγαλύνομεν.

It is truly meet
to bless Τhee, O Theotokos,
ever blessed, and most pure,
and the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the cherubim,
and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim.
Without corruption Τhou gavest birth to God the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify thee!

The justly famous Axion Estin. Last four lines by St Cosmas the Melodist, brother of St John Damaskene. First four lines revealed in 980 AD by the Archangel Gabriel, and written by his finger, as described here. I would make a terrible psalti, as I have trouble singing this all the way through: I always tear up. Softy.
Ταῖς πρεσβείαις τῆς Θεοτόκου, Σῶτερ, σῶσον ἠμᾶς!


Posted in Eastern Orthodoxy | 4 Comments