The earliest known prayer to the Theotokos (Greek, Θεοτοκος, meaning “Bearer of God”) is a prayer found on a fragment of papyrus dating back to approximately AD 250. In 1917, the John Rylands Library (1) in Manchester, England, acquired a large panel of Egyptian papyrus. The prayer is located on the fragment recorded as reference number Greek Papyrus 470. The prayer appears to be from a Coptic Christmas liturgy or vespers written in Koine Greek although the fragment in question may be a private copy of the prayer. centuries before the Nestorian heresy. Continue reading
Category Archives: Prayers
The Earliest Known Prayer to the Theotokos
The great value of our prayers for our departed
~ Words of the Church Fathers ~
The venerable Saint Paisios the Athonite used to pray and commemorate the departed souls.
The Elder related:
“As soon as I went to live at the skete, old Thanassis, who worked for Philotheou as a forester, found out about it and came to see
me. He was a friend of mine, and he brought me some blessings, since it was early on then, and I didn’t have anything. I thanked him, and I told him to write down the names of his departed relatives , so that I could commemorate them. Influenced by a Jehovah’s Witness, he replied, ‘When someone dies, there’s nothing else―after death everything’s lost.’ Soon after that, he himself died. When I found out, I went to Philotheou and saw his grave. Every day I prayed from the heart that God would give rest to his soul. About thirty days afterward, I found out that someone from Philotheou was looking for me. He came to me all upset. It was one of the stewards of the monastery. ‘Father,’ he said to me, ‘old Thanassis, the one who just died, came to me and complained that I’ve forgotten him and haven’t done anything for him, and that you’re the only one who helps him
with your prayers. And the truth is, I haven’t commemorated him in my prayers. I’m in charge of things at the monastery now, and I have a lot of work. What can I do? I’ve had to put my prayer rule aside.’
‘Well, now you’ll have to do even more.’ ”
This event strengthened the Elder, so that he prayed even more for the souls of all the departed.
Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
©2012 For the English Language by The Holy Monastery Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian
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Preparing for Prayer – St Theophan
Preparing for Prayer
So, morning or evening, immediately before you begin to repeat your prayers, stand awhile, sit for a while, or walk a little and try to steady your mind and turn it away from all worldly activities and objects.
After this, think who He is to whom you turn in prayer, then recollect who you are; who it is who is about to start this invocation to Him in prayer.
Do this in such a way as to waken in your heart a feeling of humility and reverent awe that you are standing in the presence of God.
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The Sign of the Cross
Make the sign of the cross regularly to acknowledge the presence of our Lord.
This signifies Christ’s suffering, Crucifixion and Resurrection for our salvation.
This reminds us that we are called to follow in the steps of Christ.
This helps us bear our sorrows and deprivations in His name.
This keeps the image of the cross in front of us.
This helps gain strength against our battle with the devil.
This keeps in mind the glory of Christ in the Second Coming which is preceded by the sign of the Cross in the sky.
You can begin all your prayer times with this prayer –
Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, present everywhere and filling all things, the Treasury of Good and Giver of life;
come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every impurity and save our souls, Gracious One.
Holy God. Holy Mighty. Holy Immortal Have mercy on us. (3)
Glory to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen
All Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, be merciful to our sins. Master, forgive our transgressions. Holy One, visit us and heal our infirmities, for Your name’s sake.
Lord, have mercy. (3)
Glory to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen
Our Father, in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.