Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Canon of Supplication to the All-Holy Theotokos

I have been praying, each day, for the deliverance of Ukraine from the wicked war waged against her, a Canon of Supplication to the All-holy Theotokos (available online as part of the Rite Chanted in Time of Attack by Aliens, after the propers used at the Divine Liturgy and before eight very long and rather vaguely-worded prayers); the translator notes that it comes from The Great Euchologion or Trebnik published in Kyiv in 1902, so it seems most appropriate to pray it for that much-suffering city and its undaunted defenders, not to mention martyred Mariupol, so many other Ukrainian cities, and so many other Ukrainian soldiers still bravely holding fast against the immoral and barbarous attacks of the Russian hordes. (Instructions for praying such a Canon when alone are also helpfully supplied online.)

Herewith, a few errata:

Ode 1, Troparion 1. “powerful and battle” should be “powerful in battle”, replacing “and” with “in”;

Ode 3, Troparion 3. “breath” should be “breathe”;

Ode 8, Troparion 4. “also known called” should be “also called”, omitting “known”.

(I would also change a few American spellings to British spellings.)

As the Canon does not have a sedalion (also known as a sedalen, kathisma troparion, or sessional hymn), nor a kontakion, I have selected and added the following highly appropriate texts –

After Ode 3 (the sedalion is said after the threefold Kyrie; its theotokion, after the minor doxology):

Sedalion. (Sessional Hymn after 1st or 2nd Kathisma, Wednesday Matins, Tone 4.)
Come quickly to our aid, O Christ our God, before we are enslaved by the enemies that blaspheme Thee and threaten us: by Thy Cross, destroy those who war against us, that they may know the might of the Orthodox faith, at the prayers of the Theotokos, O only Lover of mankind.

Theotokion. (Troparion 5, Ode VII, Saturday of the Akathist, Canon of the Theotokos, Tone 4.)
We thy servants pray to thee, and bend the knee of our heart. Incline thine ear and save us, O Theotokos, for we are drowning in affliction; and preserve thy city from all conquest by the enemy.

After Ode 6 (after the minor doxology following the threefold Kyrie), I could not forbear from including this most famous chant, the proemium of the Akathist, which portrays the ancient city of Constantinople addressing its thanks for victory over barbarian hordes, and its continued prayers for deliverance, to the All-Holy Mother of God, her ‘super-fighter’ commander (Τῇ ὑπερμάχῳ στρατηγῷ):

Kontakion. (Kontakion I of the Akathist to the Theotokos, Tone 8.)
To thee, my leader and defender, O Theotokos, I, thy city, delivered from calamity, offer hymns of victory and thanksgiving. Since thou art invincible in power, set me free from every peril, that I may cry to thee: Hail, Bride without bridegroom.

Similarly, since the Canon is not followed by a suitable prayer addressed to the Most Holy Mother of God, instead I repeat these fervent words of the Ukrainian Eparch of Australia, Mykola Bychok, which he issued on the 25th of January (changing "You" and "Your" into "thee" and "thy", to match the rest of the prayers):

Mother of God of Perpetual Help! Today we, as thy children, bow our heads before thee and ask for peace for the Ukrainian land; protect us from visible and invisible enemies who want to harm us. For we have no other help, we have no other hope but thee, Immaculate Virgin. Help us; we hope in thee and we praise thee, because we are thy servants, so that we will not be ashamed, now and always, and forever and ever. Amen.

No comments: