Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Αἴτησις

Having finished all my Office earlier (but for Compline, of course) - Matins, Lauds and Prime before work, Terce and Sext in breaks, and, having gone to Glendalough for Confession, None before it and Vespers afterward, coram Sanctissimo - I felt like saying some litanic prayers, and picked up my Byzantine Divine Liturgy book: this is the Litany of Supplication (Αἴτησις) - the first two petitions are not of its special form, but belong with it...

Let us complete our [morning/evening] prayer to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and protect us, O God, by Thy grace.

Lord, have mercy.

1. For this whole day [evening], that it may be perfect, holy, peaceful and sinless, let us ask of the Lord.

Grant this, O Lord.

2. An Angel of peace, a faithful guide, a guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask of the Lord.

Grant this, O Lord.

3. Forgiveness and remission of our sins and transgressions, let us ask of the Lord.

Grant this, O Lord.

4. Things that are good and profitable for our souls and peace for the world, let us ask of the Lord.

Grant this, O Lord.


5. To complete the remaining time of our life in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord.

Grant this, O Lord.

6. Christian ends to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful, and of good defence before the fearful Judgement Seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord.

Grant this, O Lord.

Commemorating our All-Holy, spotless, exceedingly blessed, glorified Lady, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

To Thee, O Lord.

For thou art [a good and philanthropic God / a God of mercy, compassion, and philanthropy], and unto Thee do we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, both now and ever and unto the ages of the ages.


Where the asterisk is, I sometimes add the following from Lancelot Andrewes, to make up the number to seven supplications (numero Deus impari gaudet - Virgil):

Whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report,
if there be any virtue
and if there be any praise,
that we may think on these things
and practise these things,
let us ask of the Lord.

Grant this, O Lord.

— Lancelot Andrewes, Preces Privatæ. F.E. Brightman, tr. (London: Methuen & Co., 1903) 24, l. 28 – 25, l. 4. (Cf. Phil. iv, 8.)

I also call to mind the prayer of St Ioannikos (Ioannicius) the monk (d. 846), the Latin for which the Martyrology entry for 3rd November tells us:

Ἡ ἐλπίς μου Πατήρ, καταφυγή μου Υἱός, σκέπη μου τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον, Τριὰς Ἁγία, δόξα σοι. Ἀμήν.

Spes mea Deus, refugium meum Christus, protector meus Spiritus Sanctus. [Trinitas Sancta, gloria tibi. Amen.]

My hope is the Father, my refuge is the Son, my protection is the Holy Ghost. Holy Trinity, glory to Thee. Amen.


Rob A said...

Ah, Lancelot Andrewes, in the tradition of the Eastern very pleasing.

Josh, the Russian Theologian, Nicholas Lossky, has written a book about Andrewes' sermons and his continuity with the Eastern patristic tradition.
...Can't remember the title.

A truly fine Anglican.

Joshua said...

Yes, I do wish I had my copy of the Preces Privatae to hand - it's the Brightman edition - but it's back in Tas.

The Lossky book sounds bang up my alley...