Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Prayer for the Day

I ran across the following prayer from a little book I recently picked up at our Diocesan Convention freebie table. The book is entitled Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers and was published by the Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius by Anglican publisher SPCK in 1945. I had never heard of this Fellowship, but apparently it still exists as some sort of informational cooperative between the Anglican and Orthodox churches in England. Given the sad deterioration of relations between us and the Orthodox within the last 30 years, I don't care to make a guess as to how active or relevant this Fellowship is.

In any event, the prayer is actually a Kontakion in Orthodox liturgy, which, as I understand Orthodox liturgy, is a type of anthem in rhythmical prose and set to music. In Anglican terminology, I believe its the cross between a canticle and a collect prayer. The prayer is under the heading of "prayers for our enemies:"

"As thy first martyr Stephen prayed to thee for his murderers, O Lord, so we fall before thee and pray: forgive all who hate and maltreat us and let not one of them perish because of us, but all be saved by thy grace, O God the all-bountiful."

I was struck by the imagery in this prayer. We don't generally tend to refer the God as the "all-bountiful" in our tradition, which is an impoverishment on our part I believe. As I have Orthodox readers on this blog, I would urge them to comment on any of this.

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