Top Ten Questions Visitors Have
Q.: I am not an Orthodox Christian. Is it allowed for me to attend an Orthodox service?

A.: Yes, you are welcome at every service. We enjoy having visitors.

Q.: When I walk into your chapel, what do I do—where do I go?

A.: You can stand anywhere in the church. There are benches on the sides for sitting.

Q.: Will I be expected to follow your customs?

A.: We don’t expect you to. If you wish to do what others are doing, crossing themselves, bowing, kissing the image of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary, and so forth, you are welcome to.

Q.: Do you worship images? That would be like having idols.

A.: We do not offer divine worship to images, saints, or angels. We must worship only God almighty. Honoring His saints, and images such as of Christ, is a way of showing respect for what God has blessed and the things He has done. A soldier on the field of battle will take out a picture of his wife and kiss it. It doesn’t mean he worships his wife as God, but it means he loves her and wants to be reunited with her soon. That’s why we kiss images of Christ and His saints.

Q.: Do you worship the Virgin Mary?

A.: No, God alone we worship as divine. We honor her highly as an amazing role model of faith, obedience, and love. Doing so, we fulfill the gospel prophecy, “Behold, all generations shall call her blessed” (Luke 1:48). We call her the Blessed “Theotokos,” or “Mother of God,” since her Son Christ was truly the Son of God, and He was born from her virginal womb.

Q.: I am a woman. Do I have to wear a scarf on my head to come to your church?

A.: We encourage the tradition, prescribed in the New Testament, of a woman wearing a head-covering or scarf to divine worship. It is also traditional with us for a lady to wear a dress. As our guest, though, neither is required of you.

Q.: Is there something to help me follow the service?

A.: Yes, in the foyer of the church there are little pink books with English and Russian on facing pages, for church use. Take one and follow the service, or just observe and pray in your heart.

Q.: I am not Orthodox. When I see people coming for Holy Communion, should I get in line with them?

A.: No, just remain in place. Fortunately, in Orthodoxy we don’t expect people to take Communion every time, so others will stay behind like you. At the end, people will come up again, to kiss the cross and take a piece of specially baked bread. You are welcome to come forward with them.

Q.: Is the Russian Orthodox Church just for Russians?

A.: Not at all. It’s a church for all peoples, spread over the whole world. It’s just that the roots of our missionary church lie in Russia, where Christianity took such deep root among the people well over a thousand years ago. In Russia itself, there are countless Germans, Ukrainians, Estonians, Latvians, Poles, Asians, Armenians, Georgians, and people of Mongolian descent. Today the Russian Orthodox Church includes Latinos, Africans, Eskimos, and all kinds of Americans.

Q.: What else should I know?

A.: When you walk in, chants and prayers may be already going. It doesn’t mean you’re late—we preface the main service with prayers of preparation. The Liturgy is in English with some Russian. If you want to help support our church, just put your donation in the labeled basket, in the foyer. (We do not take up a collection during services.) After the service on Sundays we have refreshments—you are invited to join us and there is no charge. If you have children, feel free to bring them. Almost half our congregation are children and we like kids. Children make some noise; that’s to be expected. If your child gets too loud, etc., just go outside for a while on the grass, for a breather. You can re-enter when things are going better. It’s actually common in our churches to go in or out, as need be. We stand for the whole service; you don’t have to. Anything else, just ask the priest.

I Wish to Baptize My Child...

If you would like to schedule your crowning and wedding ceremony or be baptised in our church, or want to baptise your child please plan this very important event of your life ahead of time and please come visit the church so you can talk to Fr. Aidan in person. The best time would be after our regular services which are on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. (and ending about 11:30 a.m.).

Q.:  Who should I contact?
A.:  If you want to baptize your child, call Fr. Aidan at (512) 915-0667 or send him an email: hieromonachusaidanus@yahoo.com.   

Q.:  Who can be a godparent?

A.:  It is necessary to have one godparent of the same gender as the child. But by custom usually in our Russian Church there are two godparents, a man and a woman. They must be baptized Orthodox Christians, confessing the Orthodox faith, knowing the essential prayers, attending divine services, praying at home, going to confession and holy Communion. The godparents cannot be married to each other. Parents of the child cannot serve as the child’s godparents, but grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters of the child, may be godparents for the child. A godparent must be at least 12 years of age, but it is good for the godparent to be an adult. Excluded from being godparents: those who are not believers, those who are known to be living an immoral life, those who know nothing about the Faith. 

Q.:  What must the godparents do?

A.:  On the day of the baptism, the godparents or sponsors must go to confession, then receive Holy Communion. In the service, they will read the Creed (Veruyu) in English or Russian, etc., as needed, and this should be prepared so it is read devoutly and clearly, without stumbling. It does not have to be memorized. After the child is baptized in the waters, they will take him in their arms, dry him with towels, and place the white clothing on him, making sure the hands and feet remain accessible to the priest. Then, when the priest circles the font three times, the godparents follow him with the child. At the very end, when the child is churched, the principal godparent follows the priest to the front of the church. There, when the priest sets the child down on the step, the godparent immediately picks the child up, holds the child for his first Holy Communion, and then carries him to his mother. Don’t worry; the priest will prompt you for what to do next, where to stand, etc.

Q.:  When are Baptisms done at your church?

A.:  Saturdays around noon or Sundays around 1 p.m. are the most common times.

Q.:  In what language are Baptisms done at your church?

A.:  Any requests should be made to the priest. For Russian families, Russian (Church Slavonic) is often used. Possible languages for your baptism include also English or Spanish.

Q.:  What items must I bring?
A.:  Bring a small neck-cross and white baptismal clothing or white gown. Regular clothing is worn prior to the baptism, then after baptism in the waters, during which young children are naked, older children and adults minimally clothed (such as in a bathing suit), the white clothing is put on. Make sure the child’s hands and feet, and the back of the child’s neck, are accessible to the priest, before the service begins and after the white clothing is put on. On arriving at the church, buy a candle which will be held for the child after the child is dressed in white. Note that small neck-crosses are sold at the church (usually for $8 each) but you will need to provide a string or ribbon so the cross can be placed on the child without pressing too hard against the skin. 

Q.:  How much does a baptism cost?

A.:  There is no price set, but it is customary to leave a donation which may vary according to your financial status. Amounts have typically been between $100 and $250. Donations may be put in an envelope and handed to the priest or left in the donation basket in the candle room. 

Q.:  May one film or photograph the Baptism?
A.:  Yes, but this must be done respectfully, at a distance, so as not to disrupt the reverent conduct of the service. Avoid taking a picture of the moment the child is immersed in the water, as this is the most sacred moment in the service.

Q.:  May we have a reception at church after the Baptism?
A.:  This is possible, and should be discussed with Fr. Aidan (512 915 0667).  

Q.:  What is accomplished by Holy Baptism? What is the meaning of Holy Baptism?
A.:  Read all about it here: http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/baptism_e.htm

How Do I Join the Church?

The Holy Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ is united by one faith and one belief in God, unchanged from the time of the Twelve Apostles. However, there are different administrations or “national churches” across the world, such as the Greek Church, the Russian Church, the Serbian Church, etc.

If you are already Orthodox, and wish to join the parish, you may simply tell the priest of your intent. You may be asked at some point if you are financially able to make a pledge of support to the church, but this is not necessary for parish membership.

Any Orthodox Christian may join our Russian Orthodox parish at any time. In the United States, there exist various jurisdictions; each layman is free to attend whatever parish he wishes to make his home. You should not, however, dart restlessly from one parish to another, with the result that you never find a true home in which to become established and grow spiritually.

If you are not Orthodox, tell the priest of your interest in Orthodoxy. He will guide you to further study, which may include a formal catechism, with special prayers for growth in faith, for wisdom, banishing of the devil, etc. After a period of time (generally a number of months), you may be ready to receive Holy Baptism and so be joined to the Holy Orthodox Church. If you have already been baptized into some other faith that names Christ, tell the priest this too, and he will tell you how you are to be received into the Church.

Seek God with your whole heart.

May the prayers of the Mother of God be with you and enlighten you, preserving you in virtue and from all harm through the grace of Christ.

What Must I Do, to Receive Holy Communion?

The following are the requirements for Russian Orthodox Christians, who adhere to them in many countries and cultures, in spiritual unity, across the world. Information for Orthodox visitors to our parish is given further below, under the double line.

1. One must be a member of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, in unity of faith with, and prayerful and canonical communion with, all other Local Orthodox Churches.

2. One must be conscious, in the week before the Holy Communion, that one is preparing for reception of the Mystery. Thus, one must be watchful in prayers and preserve a spirit of repentance during this time. One ought to attend the Vigil (or Vespers) the evening before, if at all possible, but this is not a strict requirement. 

If you regularly fast on all required fasting days (on Wednesdays and Fridays (except for fast-free weeks) and on all fasting seasons (Nativity Fast, Great Lent, Apostles’ Fast, Dormition Fast), and you confess and take Communion frequently,  then you do not have to fast extra before Holy Communion. Otherwise, before Holy Communion one must fast strictly for three days (for example, to take Communion on a Sunday, you would keep the preceding Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with Lenten food and drink).

3. One must have forgiven one’s enemies, and be at peace with everyone, and not harbor anger, exasperation, or hatred towards anyone.

4. One must fast from the midnight before Communion, from all food and all liquid. An exception is made for those who must take prescribed medication. Such medication may be taken without any qualms of conscience, and may be washed down with water without the fast being broken, according to the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. If you have health problems which require an adaptation, seek the blessing of the priest for an adaptation. In this way all of us can prepare humbly and in obedience, keeping a clear conscience.

If there are any questions or doubts about the strictness of the fast, please consult with the Priest. If you ate, drank or took a medicine on the morning before Holy Communion, you should tell the Priest about it at Confession.

5. One must go to confession and be absolved of one’s sins, before Communion. The confession must have occurred in the week before the Holy Communion is received. In other words, if it has been two weeks since your last confession, you must go to confession again in order to receive Communion. Children under 7 years of age are not expected to come to Confession. From 7 years up, children follow the same rules as adults.

6. One should read carefully the traditional prayers of preparation: the Canon to Our Lord Jesus Christ; the Canon to the Most Holy Mother of God; the Canon to the Guardian Angel; the Canon of Preparation for Holy Communion, and the following prayers of the holy fathers before Holy Communion. These last are available on our parish website at http://www.orthodoxaustin.org/faqs.html. It is not a strict requirement to read all the Canons, but if one has been doing so, he should not stop doing so, and if one can at all read these, one ought to read these. The final Canon of Preparation and the series of about 15 prayers which follow it, should always be read. If in doubt, ask the priest.

7. One must pray attentively during the Hours read before Liturgy, as well as at the Liturgy itself. Those who arrive at Liturgy past the reading of the Gospel should not take Holy Communion at that Liturgy. Some say that one must be present from the epistle onwards, or even from the very beginning (“Blessed is the kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”…). An exception is made for parents who have the care of very young children.

8. Women should approach Holy Communion with head covered, in accordance with the traditions of the Church.

9. Husbands and wives should abstain from one another the night before receiving Holy Communion.

10. If one is bleeding, one should not receive Holy Communion. This includes women who are at their time, or even if the priest should cut his finger preparing the Gifts and the bleeding does not stop in time for Liturgy. This rule stems from antiquity and may seem strange to modern Christians; still, let it be kept, as a universal Orthodox tradition. For men, if there has been a nocturnal emission, even if the man was not at fault, not aware, then he should not take Communion in the morning, but go to confession and wait for another day. These things may not necessarily be sins, but they are signs and indications of our fallen state, and just as we wear clean and modest clothing to church, as a symbol of our respect, we should observe these ancient traditions in respect, and not view Communion as some sort of “privilege” to which we are entitled.

11. One should not receive Holy Communion, no matter how well prepared, if one has severe nausea, such that there is a danger one could vomit forth the Body and Blood of Christ.

12. Those who are receiving Holy Communion should never cross themselves near the chalice. Instead, they cross the arms over the breast (in the shape of an X, right arm over left) and thus they make a continual “sign of the cross” and will not bump the chalice. When the priest places the Gifts in your mouth, close your lips together so when the priest draws out the spoon, all the Gifts remain inside your mouth. Kiss the bottom edge of the chalice after receiving the Gifts, before leaving. There is no need to kiss the  priest’s hand at this time.

13. Babies typically receive Communion in the form of a drop of the Lord’s Blood, which the priest takes upon his finger. Very young children can be difficult to commune, but keep in mind: (a) it is easier if they are lying on their backs in the mother’s arms; (b) if the cheeks are squeezed, the mouth opens quite widely; (c) the mother’s right arm can grasp the child’s left arm, and her left arm can grasp the child’s right arm. Thus there will be no sudden movement of the arms, which can knock the chalice out of the priest’s hands.

13. Next, the communicant goes to a special small table, where he takes zapivka (blessed bread and some wine diluted with warm water). This is a canonical practice purely physiological in nature, done in order to ensure no pieces of the Holy Gifts remain in the mouth, from which a crumb could be ejected, for example.

14. When those who took Communion approach to kiss the cross at the end of Liturgy, they do not kiss the priest’s hand, only the feet of Christ on the cross.

15. The whole day after receiving Communion, one must continue in inward peace, prayer, gratitude, and reverence, instead of plunging back into worldly pursuits. Above all, one must strive not to repeat the sins from which one has just been cleansed.


Holy Communion is given to parishioners of other Orthodox Churches (Greek, Antiochian, Serbian, Romanian, etc.) if they are active parishioners and if they are eligible to approach for Communion according to the rules of their own Church, and have come to our parish as a guest. Please note it’s our custom for the one taking Communion to kiss the cup after receiving. This is not strictly required for our Orthodox brethren from other local churches. Nor is it strictly required that a head covering be worn by ladies; however, even visiting ladies ought so to do.

Finally, bear in mind that it is the task of the one holding the communion cloth on the priest’s left side, to wipe the mouth of each communicant with the cloth. Don’t be offended if your lips are wiped by him using the cloth. It’s traditional.

“With fear of God and faith, draw nigh!”

How I can help?

Dear parishioners, donors and benefactors of the Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church!

Many thank to all those who have helped us and continue to help us, with your time, your efforts, your resources, and your prayers. May the Lord God remember you in His immortal kingdom.

Thank you for your support! Your help is very important to our parish!

Now you can make your donation online using Paypal’s secure server
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 Remember, O Lord, those that bear fruit and do good works in Thy holy churches, and grant them their saving petitions and life eternal.”.  “…we pray for those who bring offerings and do good works in this holy and all-venerable temple, for those who minister and those who chant, and for all the people present who await Thy great and abundant mercy

About helping-donating to the Church

Our Parish can exist because of parishioners’ donations and help. Our regular expenses and future projects require a large financial input.

Money received from your donations goes to paying off the mortgage, utility bills, insurance, buying wine, incense & oil, and Father’s stipend. Every month, part of the money goes to the Episcopate.

Also, every month a small amount goes to our building fund for buying/building a new church building, and for emergency repairs (AC repairs, for example). There are funds for helping the needy and funeral expenses.

Anything else I can help with?

Flowers – bouquets or flower pots for decorating the Church on Feast Days.

For The Nativity, The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Epiphany, The Transfiguration, The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, and The Feast of the Ascension – bring white flowers.

For The Annunciation – white lilies.

For Feasts dedicated to the Mother of God (The Dormition of the Mother of God, The Nativity of Virgin Mary, the Protection of the Theotokos, or the Intercession of the Theotokos, The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, days of remembering Icons of the Mother of God – White lilies and other blue and/or white flowers.

Palm Sunday – pussy willows, palm leaves.

For the Shroud decorating, only white flowers are used.

For Paskha – Bright flowers of any color.

Help with our store – may be you or someone you know will be traveling to Russia. We need books, small icons with patron saints, and baptismal crosses.

Help is needed with – printing liturgy music and texts.

If you can help with construction/fixing, painting, sanding, plumbing, know how to gold plate – please contact Sergei Larin (sergei_lus@yahoo.com)

If you can help with cleaning, baking prosphoras or bring food and drinks for trapeza  – please contact the head of our sisterhood Ilona Longway (izlongway @gmail.com).

Always welcome and appreciated are:

Containers of drinking water, paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, paper plates, cleaning supplies, light bulbs.


Funds you can contribute to:

Building Fund – building or buying new church building

Benevolent Fund

Funeral Help Fund

New AC Fund

Flowers in the church

Flowers for the Great feasts

Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Pascha) – palm leaves, willow

after the Cross week – red and purple

The Annunciation  (Blagoveshenie) – white +blue

Good Friday – for Epitaphios (plashanitsa) use ONLY WHITE FLOWERS

Easter – Pascha – red, orange, yellow

Ascension (forty days after Pascha) – white

Pentecost (fifty days after Pascha) – green

The Nativity of the Theotokos   – white lily, white andblue flowers

The Elevation of the Holy Cross  – purple

The Presentation of the Theotokos   – white and blue

The Nativity of the Lord – white flowers + evergreenChristmas  trees

The Theophany (Epiphany) of the Lord  (Baptism of Jesus) –  white

The Presentation of the Lord  – blue

The Transfiguration of Jesus  – white

The Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos  – white and blue, white only for plashanitsa

Always white lilies for The Theotokos

Generally Color of the liturgical vestments  and color of flowers should be about the same.

Days of Remembrance of prophets , apostles , saints ,  other servants of the Church, as well as pious kings and princes , saints – yellow

Holidays of Christmas , Epiphany , Candlemas the Transfiguration and the Assumption , bodiless heavenly powers , as well as at the beginning of the Easter service – white

Feasts of the Theotokos ( Annunciation , Deposition of the Robe , Assumption , Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary ,Cover , Introduction , days of commemoration of the Theotokos icons) – blue

Holidays Holy Cross ( the Cross week of Lent , Origins (iznesenie) honest ancient Holy Cross , Exaltation of the Cross ) – Purple or dark red

Easter , holidays and memorial days of the martyrs – red

Holidays and memorial days of saint , devotees, foolish ,Entry into Jerusalem , Day of the Holy Trinity – green

Great post  – Dark blue, purple, dark green, dark red, black

Maundy Thursday – dark red, burgundy, purple

How can I make sure my child behaves well in church?

First of all, good behavior in our children is not something instantaneous, and it requires much practice. The following are tips from a matushka (priest’s wife) named Anna:

1. Have high expectations. They can do it. If you assume bad behavior, you’ll probably get it.

2. Don’t bring food into church. Nursing babies excepted. I haven’t had a child yet faint from not eating for 2 hours. The older ones keep the communion fast.

3. Pick up the younger ones and slowly (and unobtrusively) walk around the periphery of the church or the narthex pointing out the figures in the icons, moving to the next when the novelty of the current one has worn out. Point out the various features in the church and the action.

4. Don’t stand in the very back. Wouldn’t you be bored if all you could see were people’s legs or backsides? (This assumes a church with no pews.)

5. If a child fusses, take them out. No one else can hear what is going on. But don’t make going out fun. Settle them down in a way appropriate to age and then bring them right back in. Stress “it’s important for us to be in church right now.” You might go out thirty times when you first try this, but it decreases markedly over a short period of time.

6. Go to church. If you limit your time in church to a Liturgy every few weeks, your children forget how to behave from one time to the next. This is obviously a generalization, but in my experience children who are in church very seldom tend to have the worst behavior. The parents’ excuse is usually, “I don’t come to church very often because they act out.” This is reversing cause and effect.

7. I have allowed small “church books” (about icons, saints, the church building, the services) in church and allow the child to look at them quietly, sometimes pointing out the parallels between the pictures and what we’re actually doing. Once the books become projectiles, they disappear. No returns. I have had no success with anything else because when they have “toys” they play.

Each family has to tailor things like this to their own situation. And no matter what, I’m going to be in a wrestling match getting my four-year-old to church on Saturday morning after having been to 10 services in the previous week!

God bless you for bringing your children to church! “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them,” said our Lord.

The Canon of Repentance to Our Lord Jesus Christ

Ode I

Irmos: When Israel walked on foot in the sea as on dry land, on seeing their pursuer Pharaoh drowned, they cried: Let us sing to God a song of victory.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia: Now I, a burdened sinner, have approached Thee, my Lord and God. But I dare not raise my eyes to Heaven. I only pray, saying: Give me, O Lord, understanding, that I may weep bitterly over my deeds.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

O woe is me, a sinner! Wretched am I above all men. There is no repentance in me. Give me, O Lord, tears, that I may weep bitterly over my deeds.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Foolish, wretched man, thou art wasting thy time in idleness! Think of thy life and turn to the Lord God, and weep bitterly over thy deeds.

Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O most pure Mother of God, look upon me, a sinner, and deliver me from the snares of the devil, and guide me to the way of repentance, that I may weep bitterly over my deeds.


Irmos: There is none holy as Thou, O Lord my God, Who hast exalted the horn of Thy faithful, O Good One, and hast strengthened us on the rock of Thy confession.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia: When the thrones are set at the dread judgment, then the deeds of all men shall be laid bare. There will be woe for sinners being sent to torment! And knowing that, my soul, repent of thine evil deeds.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

The righteous will rejoice, but the sinners will weep. Then no one will be able to help us, but our deeds will condemn us. Wherefore, before the end, repent of thine evil deeds.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Woe is me, a great sinner, who have defiled myself by my deeds and thoughts. Not a teardrop do I have, because of my hard-heartedness. But now rise from the earth, my soul, and repent of thine evil deeds.

Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Behold, thy Son calleth, O Lady, and directeth us what is good. Yet I, a sinner, I always flee from the good. But do thou, O merciful one, have mercy on me, that I may repent of my evil deeds.

Sessional Hymn, Sixth Tone: I think of the terrible day and weep over my evil deeds. How shall I answer the Immortal King? With what boldness shall I, a prodigal, look at the Judge? O compassionate Father, O Only-Begotten Son, and Holy Spirit, have mercy on me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Bound now with many fetters of sins, and inhibited by cruel passions, I flee unto thee, my salvation, and cry aloud: Help me, O Virgin, Mother of God.

Ode IV

Irmos: Christ is my power, my God and my Lord, doth the holy august Church divinely sing in godly fashion and she doth cry out with a pure mind, keeping festival in the Lord.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia: Broad is the way here and convenient for indulging in pleasures, but how bitter it will be on the last day when the soul is separated from the body! Beware of these things, O man, for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Why dost thou wrong the poor man? Why dost thou withhold the wage of the hired servant? Why dost thou not love thy brother? Why dost thou pursue lust and pride? Therefore, abandon these things, my soul, and repent for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O mindless man! How long wilt thou busy thyself like a bee, collecting thy wealth? For it will soon perish like dust and ashes. But seek rather the Kingdom of God.

Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O Lady Theotokos, have mercy on me, a sinner and strengthen and keep me in virtue, lest sudden death snatch me away unprepared. And bring me, O Virgin, to the Kingdom of God.

Ode V

Irmos: With Thy divine light, O Good One, illumine the souls of them that rise early to pray to Thee with love, I pray, that they may know Thee, O Word of God, as the true God, Who recalleth us from the darkness of sin.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia: Remember, wretched man, how thou art enslaved to lies, calumnies, theft, infirmities, wild beasts, on account of sins. O my sinful soul, is that what thou hast desired?

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

My members tremble, for with all of them I have done wrong: with my eyes in looking, with my ears in hearing, with my tongue in speaking evil, and by surrendering the whole of myself to Gehenna. O my sinful soul, is that what thou hast desired?

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thou didst receive the prodigal and the thief who repented, O Saviour, and I alone have succumbed to sinful sloth and have become enslaved to evil deeds. O my sinful soul, is this what thou hast desired?

Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Wonderful and speedy helper of all men, help me. Mother of God, unworthy as I am, for my sinful soul hath desired that.

Ode VI

Irmos: Beholding the sea of life surging with the tempest of temptations, I run to Thy calm haven, and cry unto Thee: Raise up my life from corruption, O Greatly-merciful One.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia: I have lived my life wantonly on earth and have delivered my soul to darkness. But now I implore Thee, O merciful Lord, free me from this work of the enemy and give me the knowledge to do Thy will.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy m me.

Who doeth such things as I do? For just like a swine lying in the mud, so do I serve sin. But do Thou, O Lord, pull me out of this vileness and give me the heart to do Thy commandments.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Rise, wretched man, to God and, remembering thy sins, fall down before your Creator, weeping and groaning, for He is merciful and will grant you to know His will.

Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O Virgin Mother of God, protect me from evil visible and invisible, O immaculate one, and accept my prayers and convey them to thy Son, that He may grant me the mind to do His will.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Kontakion: O my soul, why dost thou become rich in sins? Why dost thou do the will of the devil? On what dost thou set thy hope? Cease from these things and turn to God with weeping, and cry out: O Kind-hearted Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Ekos: Think, my soul, of the bitter hour of death and the judgment day of thy God and Creator. For terrible angels will seize thee, my soul, and will lead thee into the eternal fire. And so, before thy death, repent and cry: O Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.


Irmos: An Angel made the furnace sprinkle dew on the righteous youths. But the command of God consumed the Chaldeans and prevailed upon the tyrant to cry: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia: Put not thy hope, my soul, in corruptible wealth, and for what is unjustly collected. For thou dost not know to whom thou wilt leave it all. But cry aloud: O Christ our God, have mercy on me, who am unworthy.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Trust not, my soul, in health of body and quickly-passing beauty. For thou seest that the strong and the young die. But say: O Christ our God, have mercy on me, who am unworthy.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Remember, my soul, eternal life and the Heavenly Kingdom prepared for the saints, and the outer darkness and the wrath of God for the evil, and cry: O Christ our God, have mercy on me, who am unworthy.

Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Fall down, my soul, before the Mother of God, and pray to her; for she is the quick helper of those that repent. She entreateth the Son, Christ God, and hath mercy on me the unworthy.


Irmos: From the flame Thou didst sprinkle dew upon the Saints, and didst burn the sacrifice of a righteous man which was sprinkled with water. For Thou alone, O Christ, dost do all as Thou willest. Thee we exalt unto all ages.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia: How shall I not weep when I think of death? For I have seen my brother in his coffin, without glory or comeliness. What, then, am I to expect? And what do I hope for? Only grant me, O Lord, repentance before the end.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

How shall I not weep when I think of death? For I have seen my brother in his coffin, without glory or comeliness. What, then, am I to expect? And what do I hope for? Only grant me, O Lord, repentance before the end.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

I believe that Thou wilt come to judge the living and the dead, and that all will stand in order, old and young, lords and princes, priests and virgins. Where shall I find myself? Therefore I cry: grant me, O Lord, repentance before the end.

Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O most pure Theotokos, accept mine unworthy prayer and preserve me from sudden death; and grant me repentance before the end.

Ode IX

Irmos: It is not possible for men to see God, on Whom the ranks of Angels dare not gaze; but through thee, O all-pure one, appeared the Word Incarnate to men, Whom magnifying with the heavenly hosts we call thee blessed.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia: Now I flee unto to you, ye Angels, Archangels, and all the heavenly hosts who stand at the throne of God: pray to your Creator that He may deliver my soul from eternal torment.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Now I turn to you with tears, holy patriarchs, kings and prophets, apostles and holy hierarchs, and all the elect of Christ: Help me at the judgment, that He may save my soul from the power of the enemy.

Glory to the Father, awl to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Now I lift my hands to you, holy martyrs, hermits, virgins, righteous ones and all the saints, who pray to the Lord for the whole world, that He may have mercy on me at the hour of my death.

Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O Mother of God, help me who have strong hope in thee; implore thy Son that He may place me on His right hand, unworthy as I am, when He sitteth to judge the living and the dead. Amen.

Prayer after the Canon

O Master Christ God, Who hast healed my passions through Thy Passion, and hast cured my wounds through Thy wounds, grant me, who have sinned greatly against Thee, tears of compunction. Transform my body with the fragrance of Thy life-giving Body, and sweeten my soul with Thy precious Blood from the bitterness with which the foe has fed me. Lift up my down-cast mind to Thee, and take it out of the pit of perdition, for I have no repentance, I have no compunction, I have no consoling tears, which uplift children to their heritage. My mind has been darkened through earthly passions, I cannot look up to Thee in pain. I cannot warm myself with tears of love for Thee. But, O Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ, Treasury of good things, give me thorough repentance and a diligent heart to seek Thee; grant me Thy grace, and renew in me the likeness of Thine image. I have forsaken Thee – do then not forsake me! Come out to seek me; lead me up to Thy pasturage and number me among the lambs of Thy chosen flock. Nourish me with them on the grass of Thy Holy Mysteries, through the intercessions of Thy most pure Mother and all Thy saints. Amen.

The Order of Preparation for Holy Communion


Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O Heavenly King
O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of Life, come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. Thrice

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins; O Master, pardon our iniquities; O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. Thrice

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Lord, have mercy. Twelve times

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Come, let us worship God, our King.

O Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and God.

O Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ himself, our King and God.

Psalm 22
The Lord is my Shepherd, and I shall not want. In a place of green pasture, there hath He made me to dwell; beside the water of rest hath He nurtured me. He hath converted my soul, He hath led me on the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they have comforted me. Thou hast prepared a table for me in the presence of them that afflict me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil, and Thy cup which filleth me, how excellent it is! And Thy mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days.

Psalm 23
The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof, the world, and all that dwell therein. He hath founded it upon the seas, and upon the rivers hath He prepared it. Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that is innocent in hands and pure in heart, who hath not received his soul in vain, and hath not sworn deceitfully to his neighbour. Such a one shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Saviour. This is the generation of them that seek the Lord, of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your gates, O ye princes; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting gates, and the King of Glory shall enter in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in war. Lift up your gates, O ye princes; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting gates, and the King of Glory shall enter in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of Glory.

Psalm 115
I believed wherefore I spake; I was humbled exceedingly. As for me, I said in mine ecstasy: Every man is a liar. What shall I render unto the Lord for all that He hath rendered unto me? I will take the cup of salvation, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. My vows unto the Lord will I pay in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. O Lord, I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant and the son of Thy handmaid. Thou hast broken my bonds asunder. I will sacrifice a sacrifice of praise unto Thee, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. My vows unto the Lord will I pay in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Glory to Thee, O God. Thrice

Lord, have mercy. Thrice

Troparia, Eighth Tone
Disregard my transgressions, O Lord Who was born of a Virgin, and purify my heart, and make it a temple for Thy spotless Body and Blood. Let me not be rejected from Thy presence, O Thou Who hast great mercy without measure.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

How can I who am unworthy dare to come to the Communion of Thy Holy Things? For if I should dare to approach Thee with those that are worthy, my garment betrayeth me, for it is not a festal robe, and I shall cause the condemnation of my greatly-sinful soul. Cleanse, O Lord, the pollution from my soul, and save me, as Thou art the Lover of mankind.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Greatly multiplied, O Theotokos, are my sins; unto Thee have I fled, O pure one, imploring salvation. Do thou visit mine enfeebled soul, and pray to thy Son and our God that He grant me forgiveness for the evil I have done, O thou only blessed one.

During Great Lent:
When the glorious disciples were enlightened at the washing of the feet, then Judas the ungodly one was stricken and darkened with the love of silver. And unto the lawless judges did he deliver Thee, the righteous Judge. Behold, O lover of money, him that for the sake thereof did hang himself; flee from that insatiable soul that dared such things against the Master. O Thou Who art good unto all, Lord, glory be to Thee.

Psalm 50
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy compassions blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know mine iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee, that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged. For behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother bear me. For behold, Thou hast loved truth; the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom hast Thou made manifest unto me. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be made clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me to hear joy and gladness; the bones that be humbled, they shall rejoice. Turn Thy face away from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation and with Thy governing Spirit establish me. I shall teach transgressors Thy ways, and the ungodly shall turn back unto Thee. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; my tongue shall rejoice in Thy righteousness. O Lord, Thou shalt open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise. For if Thou hadst desired sacrifice, I had given it; with whole-burnt offerings Thou shalt not be pleased. A sacrifice unto God is a broken spirit; a heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise. Do good, O Lord, in Thy good pleasure unto Sion, and let the walls of Jerusalem be builded. Then shalt Thou be pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, with oblation and whole-burnt offerings. Then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.

Canon of Preparation for Holy Communion, Second Tone
Ode I
Irmos: Come, O you people, let us sing a hymn to Christ our God, Who divided the sea, and guided the people whom He brought out of the bondage of Egypt; for He is glorified.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Troparia: May Thy holy Body be for me the Bread of life eternal, O Compassionate Lord, and may Thy precious Blood also the healing for my many forms of illness.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Defiled by unseemly deeds, I the wretched one am unworthy, O Christ, of the communion of Thy most pure Body and divine Blood, which do Thou vouchsafe me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O blessed Bride of God, O good soil that grew the Corn untilled and saving to the world, vouchsafe me to be saved by eating it.

Irmos: By establishing me on the rock of faith, Thou hast enlarged my mouth over mine enemies, for my spirit rejoices when I sing: There is none holy as our God, and none righteous beside Thee, O Lord.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Troparia: Tear drops grant me, O Christ, to cleanse my defiled heart, that, purified and with a good conscience, I may come with faith and fear, O Master, to the communion Thy divine Gifts.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

May Thy most pure Body and divine Blood be unto me for remission of sins, for communion with the Holy Spirit and unto life eternal, O Lover of mankind, and to estrangement of passions and sorrows.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O thou most holy table of the Bread of Life that for mercy’s sake came down from on high, giving new life to the world, vouchsafe even me, the unworthy, to eat it with fear and live.

Ode IV
Irmos: From a Virgin didst Thou come, not as an ambassador, nor as an angel, but the very Lord Himself incarnate, and didst save me, the whole man. Wherefore, I cry to Thee: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Troparia: O Thou Who wast incarnate for our sake, O Most-merciful One, Thou didst will to be slain as a sheep for the sins of mankind. Wherefore I entreat Thee to blot out my sins also.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Heal the wounds of my soul, O Lord, and sanctify all of me, and vouchsafe, O Master, that I the wretched one, may partake of Thy divine Mystical Supper.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Propitiate for me also, Him that came from thy womb, O Lady, and keep me, thy servant, undefiled and blameless, so that by obtaining the spiritual pearl I may be sanctified.

Ode V
Irmos: O Lord, Giver of light and Creator of the ages, guide us in the light of Thy commandments, for we know none other God beside Thee.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Troparia: As Thou didst foretell, O Christ, let it be to Thy wicked servant, and in me abide as Thou didst promise; for behold, I eat Thy divine Body and drink Thy Blood.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

O Word of God and God, may the live coal of Thy Body be unto the enlightenment of me who am in darkness, and Thy Blood unto the cleansing of my defiled soul.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O Mary, Mother of God, precious tabernacle of fragrance, through thy prayers make me a chosen vessel, that I may partake of the Sacrament of thy Son.

Ode VI
Irmos: Whirled about in the abyss of sin, I appeal to the unfathomable abyss of Thy compassion: From corruption raise me up, O God.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Troparia: O Saviour, sanctify my mind, soul, heart and body, and vouchsafe me uncondemned, O Master, to approach the fearful Mysteries.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Grant that I may be rid of passions, and the assistance of Thy grace, and strengthening of life by the communion of Thy holy Mysteries, O Christ.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O Holy Word of God and God, sanctify all of me as I now come to Thy divine Mysteries, through the prayers of Thy holy Mother.

Lord, have mercy. Thrice

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Kontakion, Second Tone: Count me not unworthy, O Christ, to receive now the Bread which is Thy Body, and Thy divine Blood, and to partake, O Master, of Thy most pure and dread Mysteries, wretched though I be. Let these not be for me unto judgment, but unto life immortal and everlasting.

Irmos: The wise children did not serve the golden image, but went themselves into the flame and reviled the pagan gods. They cried in the midst of the flame, and the angel bedewed them: Already the prayer of your lips was heard.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Troparia: May the communion of Thine immortal Mysteries, the source of blessings, O Christ, be to me now light, and life, and dispassion and for progress and increase in the most divine virtues, O only Good One, that I may glorify Thee.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

That I may be delivered from passions, enemies, need, and every sorrow, I now draw nigh with trembling, love and reverence, O Lover of mankind, to Thine immortal and divine Mysteries. Vouchsafe me to hymn Thee: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O thou who art full of grace, who beyond understanding gavest birth to Christ the Saviour, I thy servant, the impure, now entreat thee, the pure: Cleanse me, who am now about to approach the most pure Mysteries, from all defilement of flesh and spirit.

Irmos: God Who descended into the fiery furnace unto the Hebrew children and changed the flame into dew, praise Him as Lord O ye works, and supremely exalt Him unto all the ages.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Troparia: Of Thy heavenly, dread and holy Mysteries, O Christ, and of Thy divine Mystical Supper, vouchsafe now even me, the despairing one, to partake O God my Saviour.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit front me.

Fleeing for refuge to Thy loving-kindness, O Good One, with fear I cry unto Thee: Abide in me, O Saviour, and I, as Thou hast said in Thee. For behold, presuming on Thy mercy, I eat Thy Body and drink Thy Blood.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Triadicon: I tremble at taking fire, lest I be consumed as wax and grass. O fearful Mystery! O loving-kindness of God! How is it that I, being but clay, partake of the divine Body and Blood, and am made incorruptible!

Ode IX
Irmos: The Son of the unoriginate Father, God and Lord, hath appeared unto us incarnate of a Virgin, to enlighten those in darkness, and to gather the dispersed. Wherefore the all-hymned Theotokos do we magnify.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Troparia: Christ it is, O taste and see! The Lord of old for our sake made like unto us once offered Himself as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

May I be sanctified in soul and body, O Master; may I be enlightened, may I be saved, may I become Thy dwelling through the communion of Thy holy Mysteries, having Thee with the Father and the Spirit living in me, O Benefactor, plenteous in mercy.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

May Thy Body and Thy most precious Blood, O my Saviour, be unto me as fire and light, consuming the substance of sin and burning the thorns of passions, and enlightening all of me to worship Thy Divinity.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: God took flesh of thy pure blood; Wherefore, all generations do hymn thee, O Lady, and throngs of heavenly minds glorify thee, for through thee they have clearly seen Him Who ruleth all things endued with human nature.

Hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos, Eighth Tone
It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, ever-blessed and most blameless and Mother of our God. More honourable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word, the very Theotokos, thee do we magnify.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. Thrice

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins; O Master, pardon our iniquities; O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. Thrice

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

On Sunday, the Troparion of the Resurrection of the tone. For a feast of the Lord, the troparion of the feast. If neither, these:

Troparia, Sixth Tone: Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us; for at a loss for any defense, this prayer do we sinners offer unto Thee as Master: Have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Lord, have mercy on us; for we have hoped in Thee, be not angry with us greatly, neither remember our iniquities; but look upon us now as Thou art compassionate, and deliver us from our enemies, for Thou art our God, and we, Thy people; all are the works of Thy hands, and we call upon Thy name.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The door of compassion open unto us, O blessed Theotokos, for, hoping in thee, let us not perish; through thee may we be delivered from adversities, for thou art the salvation of the Christian race.

Lord, have mercy. Forty times

Bows or prostrations, as many as desired.

If thou desirest, O man, to eat the Body of the Master,

Approach with fear, lest thou be burnt; for It is fire.

And when thou drinkest the Divine Blood unto communion,

First be reconciled to them that have grieved thee,

Then dare to eat the Mystical Food.

Before partaking of the Awesome Sacrifice

Of the life-creating Body of the Master,

After this manner pray with trembling.

A Prayer of Basil the Great, 1
O Master Lord Jesus Christ our God, Source of life and immortality, Creator of all things visible and invisible, the co-eternal and co-unoriginate Son of the unoriginate Father, Who, out of Thy great goodness, didst in the latter days clothe Thyself in flesh, and wast crucified, and buried for us ungrateful and evil-disposed ones, and hast renewed with Thine Own Blood our nature corrupted by sin:

Do Thou Thyself, O Immortal King, accept the repentance of me a sinner, and incline Thine ear to me, and hearken unto my words. For I have sinned against heaven and before Thee, and I am not worthy to look upon the height of Thy glory; for I have angered Thy goodness by transgressing Thy commandments and not obeying Thine injunctions. But Thou, O Lord, Who art not vengeful, but long-suffering and plenteous in mercy, hast not given me over to be destroyed with my sins, but always Thou awaitest my complete conversion. For Thou hast said, O Lover of mankind, through Thy prophet: For I desire not the death of the sinner, but that he should return and live. For Thou desirest not, O Master, to destroy the work of Thy hands, neither shalt Thou be pleased with the destruction of men, but desirest that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.

Wherefore, even I, although unworthy of heaven and earth, and of this temporal life, having submitted my whole self to sin, and made myself a slave of pleasure, and having defaced Thine image, yet being Thy work and creation, wretched though I be, I despair not of my salvation, and dare to approach Thine immeasurable loving-kindness. Accept, then, even me, O Lord, Lover of mankind, as Thou didst accept the sinful woman, the thief, the publican, and the prodigal; and take away the heavy burden of my sins, Thou that takest away the sin of the world, and healest the infirmities of mankind, Who callest the weary and heavy-laden unto Thyself and givest them rest, Who camest not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. And do Thou cleanse me from all defilement of flesh and spirit, and teach me to achieve holiness in fear of Thee; that with the pure testimony of my conscience, receiving a portion of Thy Holy Things, I may be united unto Thy Holy Body and Blood, and have Thee living and abiding in me with the Father and Thy Holy Spirit. Yea, O Lord Jesus Christ my God, let not the communion of Thine immaculate and life-giving Mysteries be unto me for judgment, neither unto infirmity of soul and body because of my partaking of them unworthily; but grant me until my last breath to receive without condemnation the portion of Thy Holy Things, unto communion with the Holy Spirit, as a provision for life eternal, for an acceptable defense at Thy dread judgment seat; so that I also, with all Thine elect, may become a partaker of Thine incorruptible blessings, which Thou hast prepared for them that love Thee, O Lord, in whom Thou art glorified unto the ages. Amen.

A Prayer of St. John Chrysostom, 2
O Lord My God, I know that I am not worthy nor sufficient that Thou shouldest enter beneath the roof of the temple of my soul, for all is empty and fallen, and Thou hast not in me a place worthy to lay Thy head; but as from on high Thou didst humble Thyself for our sake, do Thou now also lower Thyself to my lowliness; and as Thou didst consent to lie in a cave and in a manger of dumb beasts, so consent also to lie in the manger of mine irrational soul and to enter into my defiled body. And as Thou didst not refuse to enter and to dine with sinners in the house of Simon the Leper, so deign also to enter into the house of my lowly soul, leprous and sinful. And as Thou didst not reject the harlot and sinner like me, when she came and touched Thee, so be compassionate also with me a sinner, as I approach and touch Thee. And as Thou didst feel no loathing for the defiled and unclean lips of her that kissed Thee, do Thou also not loathe my defiled lips nor mine abominable and impure mouth, and my polluted and unclean tongue. But let the fiery coal of Thy most Holy Body and Thy precious Blood be unto me for sanctification and enlightenment and health for my lowly soul and body, unto the lightening of the burden of my many sins, for preservation from every act of the devil, for the expulsion and prohibition of mine evil and wicked habits, unto the mortification of the passions, unto the keeping of Thy commandments, unto the application of Thy divine grace, unto the acquiring of Thy kingdom. For not with disdain do I approach Thee, O Christ God, but as one trusting in Thine ineffable goodness, and that I may not by much abstaining from Thy communion become the prey of the spiritual wolf.

Wherefore do I entreat Thee, for Thou art the only Holy One, O Master: Sanctify my soul and body, my mind and heart, my belly and inward parts, and renew me entirely. And implant Thy fear in my members, and make Thy sanctification inalienable from me, and be unto me a helper and defender, guiding my life in peace, vouchsafing me also to stand at Thy right hand with Thy saints, through the intercessions and supplications of Thy most pure Mother, of Thine immaterial ministers and immaculate hosts, and of all the saints who from the ages have been pleasing unto Thee. Amen.

Prayer of Symeon Metaphrastes, 3
O only pure and sinless Lord, Who, through the ineffable compassion of Thy love for mankind, didst take on all of our substance from the pure and virgin blood of her that bare Thee supernaturally through the descent of the Divine Spirit and the good will of the everlasting Father; O Christ Jesus, Wisdom of God, and Peace, and Power, Thou Who through the assumption of our nature didst take upon Thyself Thy life-giving and saving Passion: the Cross, the nails, the spear, and death: Mortify the soul-corrupting passions of my body. Thou Who by Thy burial didst lead captive the kingdom of hades, bury with good thoughts mine evil schemes, and destroy the spirits of evil. Thou Who by Thy life-bearing Resurrection on the third day didst raise up our fallen forefather, raise me up who have slipped down into sin, setting before me the ways of repentance. Thou Who by Thy most glorious Ascension didst deify the flesh that Thou hadst taken, and didst honour it with a seat at the right hand of the Father, vouchsafe me through partaking of Thy holy Mysteries to obtain a place at Thy right hand among them that are saved. O Thou Who by the descent of Thy Spirit, the Comforter, didst make Thy holy disciples worthy vessels, show me also to be a receptacle of His coming. Thou Who art to come again to judge the world in righteousness, deign to let me also meet Thee on the clouds, my Judge and Creator, with all Thy saints; that I may endlessly glorify and praise Thee, with Thine unoriginate Father, and Thy Most-Holy and good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of-ages. Amen.

Prayer of the Divine Damascene, 4
O Master Lord Jesus Christ our God, Who alone hast authority to remit the sins of men: Do Thou, as the Good One and Lover of mankind, overlook all mine offences, whether committed with knowledge or in ignorance. And vouchsafe me to partake without condemnation of Thy Divine, glorious, immaculate, and life-giving Mysteries; not as a burden, nor for punishment, nor for an increase of sins, but unto purification and sanctification, and as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come, as a bulwark and help, and for the destruction of enemies, and for the blotting out of my many transgressions. For Thou art a God of mercy, and compassion, and love for mankind, and unto Thee do we send up glory, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer of St. Basil the Great, 5
I know, O Lord, that I partake unworthily of Thine immaculate Body and Thy precious Blood, and that I am guilty, and eat and drink damnation to myself, not discerning the Body and Blood of Thee, my Christ and God; but taking courage from Thy compassion I approach Thee Who hast said: He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me and I in him. Show compassion, therefore, O Lord, and do not accuse me, a sinner, but deal with me according to Thy mercy; and let these Holy Things be for me unto healing, and purification, and enlightenment, and preservation, and salvation, and unto sanctification of soul and body; unto the driving away of every phantasy, and evil practice, and activity of the devil working mentally in my members; unto confidence and love toward Thee, unto correction of life, unto steadfastness, unto an increase of virtue and perfection, unto fulfillment of the commandments, unto communion with the Holy Spirit, as a provision for life eternal, as an acceptable defense at Thy dread tribunal, not unto judgment or condemnation.

Prayer of St. Symeon the New Theologian, 6
From sullied lips, from an abominable heart, from a tongue impure, from a soul defiled, accept my supplication, O my Christ, and disdain me not, neither my words, nor my ways, nor my shamelessness. Grant me to say boldly that which I desire, O my Christ. Or rather, teach me what I ought to do and say. I have sinned more than the sinful woman who, having learned where Thou wast lodging, bought myrrh, and came daringly to anoint Thy feet, my God, my Master, and my Christ. As Thou didst not reject her when she drew near from her heart, neither, O Word, be Thou filled with loathing for me, but grant me Thy feet to clasp and kiss, and with floods of tears, as with most precious myrrh, dare to anoint them. Wash me with my tears, and purify me with them, O Word; remit also my transgressions, and grant me pardon. Thou knowest the multitude of mine evils, Thou knowest also my sores, and Thou seest my wounds; but also Thou knowest my faith and Thou beholdest my good intentions, and Thou hearest my sighs. Nothing is hidden from Thee, my God, my Creator, my Redeemer, neither a teardrop, nor a part of a drop. My deeds not yet done Thine eyes have seen, and in Thy book even things not yet accomplished are written by Thee. See my lowliness, see my toil, how great it is, and all my sins take from me, O God of all; that with a pure heart, a trembling mind, and a contrite soul I may partake of Thy spotless and most holy Mysteries, by which all that eat and drink in purity of heart are quickened and deified. For Thou, O my Master, hast said: Everyone that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood abideth in Me, and I in him. True is every word of my Master and God; for whosoever partaketh of the divine and deifying grace is no more alone, but with Thee, my Christ, the three-sunned Light that enlighteneth the world. And that I may not remain alone without Thee, the Life-giver, my Breath, my Life, my Rejoicing, the Salvation of the world, therefore have I drawn nigh unto Thee, as Thou seest, with tears, and with a contrite soul. O Ransom of mine offences, I ask Thee to receive me, and that I may partake without condemnation of Thy life-giving and perfect Mysteries, that Thou mayest remain, as Thou hast said, with me, a thrice-wretched one, lest the deceiver, finding me without Thy grace, craftily seize me, and having beguiled me, draw me away from Thy deifying words. Wherefore, I fall down before Thee, and fervently cry unto Thee: As Thou did receive the prodigal, and the sinful woman who drew near, so receive me, the prodigal and profligate, O Compassionate One. With contrite soul I now come to Thee. I know, O Saviour, that none other hath sinned against Thee as have I, nor hath wrought the deeds that I have done. But this again I know, that neither the magnitude of mine offences nor the multitude of my sins surpasseth the abundant long-suffering of my God and His exceeding love for mankind; but with sympathetic mercy Thou dost purify and illumine them that fervently repent, and makest them partakers of the light, sharers of Thy divinity without stint. And, strange to angels and to the minds of men, Thou conversest with them oftimes, as with Thy true friends. These things make me bold, these things give me wings, O Christ. And taking courage from the wealth of Thy benefactions to us, rejoicing and trembling at once, I partake of Fire, I that am grass. And, strange wonder! I am bedewed without being consumed, as the bush of old burned without being consumed. Now with thankful mind, and grateful heart, with thankfulness in my members, my soul and body, I worship and magnify and glorify Thee, my God, for blessed art Thou, both now and unto the ages.

Prayer of St. John Chrysostom, 7
O God, loose, remit, and pardon me my transgressions wherein I have sinned against Thee, whether by word, deed, or thought, voluntarily or involuntarily, consciously or unconsciously; forgive me all, for Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. And through the intercessions of Thy most pure Mother, Thy noetic ministers and holy hosts, and all the saints who from the ages have been pleasing unto Thee, deign to allow me without condemnation to receive Thy holy and immaculate Body and precious Blood, unto the healing of soul and body, and unto the purification of mine evil thoughts. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer of the same, 8
I am not sufficient, O Master and Lord, that Thou shouldest enter under the roof of my soul; but as Thou dost will as the Lover of mankind to dwell in me, I dare to approach Thee. Thou commandest: I shall open the doors which Thou alone didst create, that Thou mayest enter with Thy love for mankind, as is Thy nature, that Thou mayest enter and enlighten my darkened thought. I believe that Thou wilt do this, for Thou didst not drive away the sinful woman when she came unto Thee with tears, neither didst Thou reject the publican who repented, nor didst Thou spurn the thief who acknowledged Thy kingdom, nor didst Thou leave the repentant persecutor to himself; but all of them that came unto Thee in repentance Thou didst number among Thy friends, O Thou Who alone art blessed, always, now and unto endless ages. Amen.

Prayer of the same, 9
O Lord Jesus Christ my God, loose, remit, cleanse, and forgive me, Thy sinful and unprofitable, and unworthy servant, my transgressions and offences and fallings into sin, which I have committed against Thee from my youth until the present day and hour, whether consciously or unconsciously, whether by words or deeds, or in thought or imagination, in habit, and in all my senses. And through the intercessions of her that seedlessly gave Thee birth, the most pure and Ever-Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, the only hope that maketh not ashamed, and my mediation and salvation, vouchsafe me without condemnation to partake of Thine immaculate, immortal, life-giving and awesome Mysteries, unto the remission of sins and for life eternal, unto sanctification and enlightenment, strength, healing, and health of both soul and body, and unto the consumption and complete destruction of mine evil reasonings and intentions and prejudices and nocturnal phantasies of dark and evil spirits; for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, and the honour and the worship, with the Father and Thy Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Another Prayer of St. John Damascene, 10
I stand before the doors of Thy temple, yet I do not put away evil thoughts. But do Thou, O Christ God, Who didst justify the publican, and didst have mercy on the woman of Canaan, and didst open the doors of paradise to the thief, open unto me the abyss of Thy love for mankind, and receive me as I come and touch Thee, as Thou didst receive the sinful woman and the woman with an issue of blood. For the one received healing easily by touching the hem of Thy garment, while the other, by clasping Thy most pure feet, carried away absolution of sins. And I, a wretch, daring to receive Thy whole Body, let me not be consumed by fire; but receive me, as Thou didst receive them, and enlighten my spiritual, senses, burning up my sinful errors; through the intercessions of her that seedlessly gave Thee birth, and of the heavenly hosts, for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Another Prayer of Chrysostom
I believe, O Lord and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Moreover, I believe that this is truly Thy most pure Body and this is truly Thine Own precious Blood; wherefore I pray thee: Have mercy on me and forgive me my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, whether in word or deed, in knowledge or in ignorance. And vouchsafe me to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, unto the remission of sins and life everlasting. Amen.

When Coming to Partake of Holy Communion say these verses of Symeon Metaphrastes:

Behold, I approach the Divine Communion.

O Creator, let me not be burnt by communicating:

For Thou art Fire, consuming the unworthy.

But, rather, purify me of all impurity.

Then again say:

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, receive me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of the Mystery to Thine enemies; nor will I give Thee a kiss, as did Judas, but like the thief do I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom.

Furthermore, these lines:

Be awe-stricken, O mortal, beholding the deifying Blood;

For It is a fire that consumeth the unworthy.

The Divine Body both deifieth and nourisheth me.

It deifieth the spirit, and wondrously nourisheth the mind.

Thou hast sweetened me with Thy love, O Christ, and by Thy Divine zeal hast Thou changed me. But do Thou consume my sins with immaterial fire, and vouchsafe me to be filled with delight in Thee; that, leaping for joy, O Good One, I may magnify Thy two comings.

Into the brilliant company of Thy saints how shall I the unworthy enter? For if I dare to enter into the bridechamber, my garment betrayeth me, for it is not a wedding garment and I shall be bound and cast out by the angels. Cleanse, O Lord, my soul of pollution, and save me, as Thou art the Lover of mankind.

Then the Prayer:

O Master, Lover of mankind, O Lord Jesus Christ my God, let not these Holy Things be unto me for judgment, through my being unworthy, but unto the purification and sanctification of soul and body, and as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come. For it is good for me to cleave unto God, to put my hope of salvation in the Lord.

And again:

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, receive me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of the Mystery to Thine enemies; nor will I give Thee a kiss, as did Judas; but like the thief do I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom.

Prayer for the Non-Orthodox

Some people have heard that it is not permitted to pray for the non-Orthodox. This is definitely not the case, and here is a collection of some thoughts on the matter, with practical solutions.

First, if you have family (or friends) who are not Orthodox:

(a) Never argue religion with them;

(b) Pray for them every day, in the morning and evening together with your prayer rule, but other times as well.

(c) Ask the Most Pure Mother of God to pray for them as often as you yourself pray for them.

(d) Light a candle for them in church every time you go.

(e) Accept them on a personal level, but instead of nodding your head to agree with any unOrthodox ideas they may express, just state in a few words that your view is a little different, but you will always love them regardless.

(f) Before the Liturgy, include them when you turn in zapiski. When you buy a tiny commemoration bread, and are writing the names of Orthodox on slips–red print for the living, black for the dead–include your family members’ names, writing “non-O” for non-Orthodox. The priest will pray for all these in the altar.

(g) A few days each year, go on pilgrimage to a monastery or great Saint, and pray for them while keeping silence and prayer.

(h) Ask some great saint you are very close to, to pray for them.

(i) Give alms to the poor in their names, regularly, even in a small amount.

(j) If your priest blesses it, do an extra day of fasting each month, dedicated it for their salvation.

Never give up on them, and be very alert to any signs of conversion, repentance, and spiritual desire. These are times when one actually can discuss the faith and have a good outcome. If they get close to death also look for signs of their openness to receiving any sacramental or pastoral ministrations. Your priest will be happy to help.

What is the right way to raise a child?
For the Russian version see http://www.pravoslavie.ru/smi/36848.htm
A child’s upbringing commences at the moment of its conception

A child’s upbringing commences at the moment of its conception. The embryo hears and feels in its mothers womb. Yes, it hears and it sees with its mother’s eyes. It is aware of her movements and her emotions, even though its mind has not developed. If the mother’s face darkens, it darkens too. If the mother is irritated, then it becomes irritated also. Whatever the mother experiences — sorrow, pain, fear, anxiety, etc. — is also experienced by the embryo.

If the mother doesn’t want the child, if she doesn’t love it, then the embryo senses this and traumas are created in its little soul that ac­company it all its life. The opposite occurs through the mother’s holy emotions. When she is filled with joy, peace and love for the embryo, she transmits these things to it mystically, just as happens to children that have been born.

For this reason a mother must pray a lot during her pregnancy and love the child growing within her, caressing her abdomen, reading psalms, singing hymns and living a holy life. This is also for her own benefit. But she makes sacrifices for the sake of the embryo so that the child will become more holy and will acquire from the very outset holy foundations.

Do you see how delicate a matter it is for a woman to go through a pregnancy? Such a responsibility and such an honour!

I will tell you something about other animate and non-rational be­ings and you will understand what I mean. In America the following experiment was carried out: in two identical rooms which were kept at exactly the same temperature flowers were planted in identical soil and watered in exactly the same way. There was, however, one differ­ence: in the one room gentle, soothing music was played. And the re­sult? The flowers in that room displayed an enormous difference in relation to the flowers in the other room. They had a quite different vitality, their colours were more attractive and they grew incompara­bly better.

What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home

What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home. The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in their relation to their children through their mildness, patience and love. They need to make a new start every day, with a fresh outlook, renewed enthusiasm and love for their children. And the joy that will come to them, the holiness that will visit them, will shower grace on their children. Generally the parents are to blame for the bad behaviour of the children. And their behaviour is not improved by reprimands, disciplining, or strictness. If the parents do not pursue a life of holiness and if they don’t engage in spiritual struggle, they make great mistakes and transmit the faults they have within them. If the par­ents do not live a holy life and do not display love towards each other, the devil torments the parents with the reactions of the children. Love, har­mony and understanding between the parents are what are required for the children. This provides a great sense of security and certainty.

The behaviour of the children is directly related to the state of the parents. When the children are hurt by the bad behaviour of the parents towards each other, they lose the strength and desire to progress in their lives. Their lives are constructed shoddily and the edifice of their soul is in constant danger of collapsing. Let me give you two examples.

Two sisters came to see me. One of them had gone through some very distressing experiences and they asked me what was the cause of these. I answered them:

‘It’s because of your home; it stems from your parents.’ And as I looked at the girl I said:

‘These are things you’ve inherited from your mother.’

‘But,’ she said,’ my parents are such perfect people. They’re Chris­tians, they go to confession, they receive Communion and we had a re­ligious upbringing. Unless it is religion that is to blame…’

I said to them:

‘I don’t believe a word of all that you’re telling me. I see one tiling only, and that is that your parents don’t live with the joy of Christ.’

On hearing this, the other girl said:

‘Listen, Maria, the Father’s quite right. Our parents go to confession and receive Holy Communion, but did we ever have any peace at home. Our father was constantly complaining about our mother. And every day either the one refused to sit at the table or the other refused to go out somewhere together. So you see what the Father is saying is true.

‘What’s your father’s name?’ I asked her,

She told me.

‘What’s your mother’s name?’

She told me.

‘Well,’ I said,’ the feelings you’ve got inside you towards your moth­er are not at all good.’

You see, the moment she told me her father’s name I saw his soul, and the moment she told me her mother’s name, I saw her mother and I saw the way her daughter looked at her.

Another day a mother came to visit me with one of her daughters. She was very distressed and broke down in tears.

‘What’s the matter?’ I asked.

‘I’m in total despair over my older daughter. She threw her husband out the house and deceived us all with a pack of lies.’

‘What kind of lies?’ I inquired.

‘She threw her husband out the house ages ago and she didn’t tell us anything. We would ask on the phone, “How’s Stelios doing?1′, and she would reply, “Oh, he’s fine. He’s just gone out to buy a newspaper.” Each time she would think up some new excuse so that we wouldn’t suspect anything. And this went on for two whole years. A few days ago we learned the truth from Stelios himself when we bumped into him by chance.’

So I said to her:

‘The fault’s your own. It’s you that’s to blame, you and your husband, but you most of all.’

‘What do you mean!’ she said indignantly. ‘I loved my children to the point that I was never out of the kitchen. I had no life of my own at all. I took them to the church and I was always telling them the right thing to do. How can you say that I’m to blame?’

I turned to her other daughter who was with her and asked:

‘What do you think about the matter?’

‘The Father’s right, Mom,’ she said. ‘We never ever enjoyed a single day when you weren’t quarrelling with Dad.’

‘Do you see then, how I’m right? It is you that are to blame. You traumatized the children. They are not to blame, but they are suffering the consequences.’

A psychological state is created in a child as a result of its parents that accompanies it throughout its life. Its later behaviour and its relationships with others are directly connected with the experiences that it carries with it from its childhood years. The child grows up and develops, but at bot­tom it does not change. This is manifested even in the smallest expressions of life. For example, you get a craving for food and want to eat. You take something and eat it, then you see something else and you want that. You feel hungry and think that if you don’t eat you’ll feel faint and you’ll start to tremble. You’re afraid you’ll lose weight. This is a psychological state that has its explanation. Perhaps you never knew your father or your mother, and you feel deprived and hungry, poor and weak. And this psy­chological reality is expressed by way of reflex as a weakness of the body.

A large part of the responsibility for a person’s spiritual state lies with the family. For children to be released from their various inner problems it is not enough for them to receive good advice, or to be compelled by force; nor do logical arguments or threats do any good. These things rather make matters worse. The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents. Become saints and you will have no problems with your children. The sanctity of their parents releases the children from their problems. Children want to have saintly people at their side, people with lots of love who will neither intimidate them nor lecture them, but who will provide a saintly example and pray for them. You par­ents should pray silently to Christ with upraised arms and embrace your children mystically. When they misbehave you will take some discipli­nary measures, but you will not coerce them. Above all you need to pray.

Parents, especially the mother, often cause hurt to a child for some act of misbehaviour by scolding it excessively. The child is then wounded. Even if you don’t scold the child outwardly but bristle with anger in­wardly or look fiercely at the child, the child understands. The child be­lieves that its mother doesn’t love it and asks, ‘Do you love me, Mummy?’ The mother answers, ‘Yes, dear,’ but the child is not convinced. It has been wounded. The mother loves it, she’ll caress it later, but the child will pull its head away. It refuses to be caressed, regarding this as hypocrisy because it has been wounded.

Over-protectiveness leaves children immature

Another thing that harms children is over-protectiveness, that is, exces­sive care or excessive anxiety and worry on the part of the parents.

A mother used to complain to me that her five-year-old child was disobedient. ‘It’s your fault,’ I told her, but she didn’t understand. Once I went for a walk by the seaside with this mother along with the child. The little boy let go of his mother’s hand and ran towards the sea. There was a sand dune there and the sea came in directly behind it. The mother im­mediately reacted with anxiety and was about to s wards the boy who was standing on top of the dune with outstretched arms trying to keep his balance. I calmed her down and told to her to turn her back on the boy while I kept an eye on him askance. When the boy despaired of provoking his mother’s attention and causing her to panic and scream as usual, he calmly climbed down and walked towards us. That was the end of it. Then the mother understood what I meant.

Another mother used to complain that her little boy wouldn’t eat all his food, especially his yoghurt. The little one was about three years old and tormented his mother every day. I said to her:

‘What you should do is this. Empty the refrigerator completely and then fill it with some yoghurt. When lunchtime comes you’ll give Peter his yo­ghurt. He’ll refuse to eat it. In the evening you’ll give him it again and the same the next day. In the end he’ll get hungry and will try some. He’ll throw a tantrum, but you’ll just put up with it. Thereafter he’ll eat it quite happily.’

That’s just what happened and yoghurt became Peter’s favourite food.

These things aren’t difficult, but many mothers are unable to do them and the result is that they give their children a very bad upbringing. Mothers who are always standing over their children and pressurizing them, that is, over-protecting them, have failed in their task. You need to leave the child alone to take an interest in its own progress. Then you will succeed. When you are always standing over them, the children react. They become lethargic and weak-willed and generally are unsuccessful in life. This is a kind of over-protectiveness that leaves the children immature.

A few days ago a mother came here in a state of despair because of her son’s repeated failures in the university entrance exams. He had been an excellent pupil in elementary school and all the way through high school. But in the end he failed repeatedly and showed indifference and had strange reactions.

‘It’s your fault,’ I said to the mother, ‘educated woman though you are! How else did you expect the boy to react? Pressure, pressure, pres­sure all these years, “Make sure you’re top of the class, don’t let us down, get yourself an important position in society…” Now he’s thrown in the towel; he doesn’t want anything. Stop this pressure and over-protection and you’ll see that the boy will regain his equilibrium. He’ll make progress once you let him be.’

A child needs to be surrounded by people who pray and pray ardently

A child needs to be surrounded by people who pray and pray ardently. A mother should not be satisfied by giving her child a physical caress, but should also coddle it with the caress of prayer. In the depths of its soul the child senses the spiritual caress that its mother conveys to it and is drawn to her. It feels security and certainty when its mother mys­tically embraces it with constant, intense and fervent prayer and releas­es it from whatever is oppressing it.

Mothers know how to express anxiety, offer advice and talk inces­santly, but they haven’t learned to pray. Most advice and criticism does a great deal of harm. You don’t need to say a lot to children. Words hammer at the ears, but prayer goes to the heart. Prayer is required, with faith and without anxiety, along with a good example.

One day a mother came here distraught about her son, George. He was very mixed-up. He stayed out late at night and the company he kept was far from good. Every day things were getting worse. The mother was overcome by anxiety and distress.

I said to her:

‘Don’t say a word. Just pray.’

We agreed that between ten and ten fifteen every evening we would both pray. I told her to say not a word and to leave her son to stay out till whatever time he wanted, without asking him, ‘What sort of time is this to come home? Where were you?’, or any such thing. Instead she would say to him as lovingly as possible, ‘Come and eat, George, there’s food in the fridge.’ Beyond this she was to say nothing. She would be­have towards him with love and not stop praying.

The mother began to apply this tactic, and after about twenty days had passed the boy asked her:

‘Mother, why don’t you speak to me?’

‘What do you mean, George, that I don’t speak to you?’

‘You’ve got something against me, Mother, and you’re not speaking to me.’

‘What strange idea is this that you’ve got into your head, George? Of course I speak to you. Am I not speaking to you now? What do you want me to say to you?’

George made no reply.

The mother then came to the monastery and asked me:

‘Elder, what was the meaning of this that the boy said to me?’

‘Our tactic has worked!’

‘What tactic?’

‘The tactic I told you — of not speaking and simply praying secret­ly and that the boy would come to his senses,’

‘Do you think that that is it?’

‘That is it,’ I told her. ‘He wants you to ask him “Where were you? What were you doing?” so that he can shout and react and come home even later the next night.’

‘Is that so?’ she said. ‘What strange mysteries are hidden!’

‘Do you understand now? He was tormenting you because he want­ed you to react to his behaviour so that he could stage his little act. Now that you’re not shouting at him he is upset. Instead of you being upset when he does what he wants, now he is upset because you don’t appear distressed and you display indifference.’

One day George announced that he was giving up his job and going to Canada. He had told his boss to find a replacement because he was leaving. In the meantime I said to his parents:

‘We’ll pray.’

‘But he’s ready to leave… I’ll grab him by the scruff of the neck!’ said his father.

‘No,’ I told him, ‘don’t do anything.’

‘But the boy’s leaving, Elder!3

I said: ‘Let him leave. You just devote yourselves to prayer and I’ll be with you.’

Two or three days later early one Sunday morning George an­nounced to his parents:

‘I’m going off today with my friends.’

‘Fine,’ they replied, ‘do as you want.’

He left, and along with his friends, two girls and two boys, he hired a car and set off for Chalkida. They drove around aimlessly here and there. Then they went past the church of Saint John the Russian and from there to Mantoudi, Aghia Anna and beyond to Vasilika, They had a swim in the Aegean Sea, they ate, drank and had a fine time. At the end of it all they set off on the road home. It was already dark. George was driving. As they were passing through Aghia Anna the car hit the cor­ner of a house and was badly damaged. What could they do now? They managed to bring the car back to Athens at a crawling pace.

George arrived back home in the early hours of the morning. His parents said nothing to him and he went off to sleep. When he woke up he came and said to his father:

‘Do you know what happened?… Now we’ll have to repair the car and it will cost a lot of money.’

His father said:

‘Well, George, you’ll have to find a solution to this yourself. You know I’ve got debts to pay and your sisters to look after…’

‘What can I do, father?’

‘Do whatever you like. You’re grown-up and you’ve got a brain of your own. Go off to Canada and make some money…’

‘I can’t do that. We have to repair the car now.’

I’ve no idea what you should do,’ said his father. ‘Sort it out yourself.’

So, seeing that further dialogue with his father was pointless, he said no more and left. He went to his boss and said:

‘I had an accident with a car. I don’t want to leave now, so don’t hire anyone else.’

His boss said:

‘That’s all right by me, lad.’

‘Yes, but I would like you to give me some money in advance.’

‘That’s fine, but you were wanting to leave. If you want money, your father will have to sign for it.’

I’ll sign for it myself. My father doesn’t want to get involved. He told me so. I’ll work and I’ll repay it.’

Now isn’t that a miracle?

When the boy’s mother came again to see me I said to her:

‘The method we employed worked and God heard our prayer. The accident was from God and now the boy will stay at home and will come to his senses.’

That’s what happened through our prayer. It was a miracle. The par­ents fasted, prayed and kept silent and they were successful. Some time later the boy himself came and found me — without any of his family having said anything to him about me. George became a very fine man and now works in the air force and is married with a lovely family.

With children what is required is a lot of prayer and few words

All things are achieved through prayer, silence and love. Have you un­derstood the effects of prayer? Love in prayer, love in Christ. That is what is truly beneficial. As long as you love your children with human love — which is often pathological — the more they will be mixed-up, and the more their behaviour will be negative. But when the love be­tween you and towards your children is holy and Christian love, then you will have no problem. The sanctity of the parents saves the chil­dren. For this to come about, divine grace must act on the souls of the parents. No one can be sanctified on his own. The same divine grace will then illuminate, warm and animate the souls of the children. People often telephone me from abroad and ask me about their children and about other matters. Today a mother phoned me from Milan and asked me how she should behave towards her children. What I said to her was this:

‘Pray, and when you have to, speak to your children with love. Lots of prayer and few words. Lots of prayer and few words for everyone. We mustn’t become an annoyance, but rather pray secretly and then speak, and God will let us know in our hearts whether the others have accept­ed what we have said. If not, we won’t speak. We will simply pray mys­tically. Because if we speak we become an annoyance and make others react or even infuriate them. That is why it is better to speak mystically to the heart of others through secret prayer rather than to their ears.

Pray and then speak. That’s what to do with your children. If you are constantly lecturing them, you’ll become tiresome and when they grow up they’ll feel a kind of oppression. Prefer prayer and speak to them through prayer. Speak to God and God will speak to their hearts. That is, you shouldn’t give guidance to your children with a voice that they hear with their ears. You may do this too, but above all you should speak to God about your children. Say, “Lord Jesus Christ, give Your light to my children. I en­trust them to You. You gave them to me, but I am weak and unable to guide them, so, please, illuminate them.” And God will speak to them and they will say to themselves, “Oh dear, I shouldn’t have upset Mummy by doing that!” And with the grace of God this will come from their heart.’

This is the most perfect way — for the mother to speak to God and for God to speak to the children. If you do not communicate in this way, constant lecturing becomes a kind of intimidation. And when the child grows up it begins to rebel, that is, to take revenge, so to speak, on its fa­ther and mother who coerced it. One way is the perfect way — for the mother’s and father’s holiness and love in Christ to speak. The radiance of sanctity and not human effort makes for good children.

When the children are traumatized and hurt on account of some se­rious situation, don’t let it affect you when they react negatively and speak rudely. In reality they don’t want to, but can’t help themselves at difficult times. They are remorseful afterwards. But if you become irri­tated and enraged, you become one with the evil spirit and it makes a mockery of you all.

The sanctity of the parents is the best way of bringing up children in the Lord.

We must see God in the faces of our children and give God’s love to our children. The children should learn to pray. And in order for children to pray they must have in them the blood of praying parents. This is where some people make the mistake of saying, ‘Since the parents are devout and pray, meditate on Holy Scripture and bring up their chil-Eph,6:4 dren in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, it is natural that they will become good children.’ But nevertheless we see the very opposite result on account of coercion.

It is not sufficient for the parents to be devout. They mustn’t oppress the children to make them good by force. We may repel our children from Christ when we pursue the things of our religion with egotism. Children cannot endure coercion. Don’t compel them to come with you to church. You can say, ‘Whoever wants can come with me now or come later.’ Leave God to speak to their souls. The reason why the children of some devout parents become rebellious when they grow up and reject the Church and everything connected with it and go off to seek satisfaction elsewhere is because of this pressure which they feel from their ‘good’ parents. The so-called ‘devout’ parents, who were anxious to make good Christians of their children with their human love, pressurized their children and produced the opposite result. The children are pressurized when they are young, and when they reach the age of sixteen, seventeen or eighteen years old, they end up the opposite of what was intended. By way of reaction they start to mix with bad company and to use bad language.

When children grow up in an atmosphere of freedom and at the same time are surrounded by the good example of grown-ups, they are a joy to see. The secret is to be good and saintly and to inspire and radi­ate. The life of the children seems to be affected by the radiation of their parents. If the parents insist, ‘Come on now, go and make confession, go and receive Communion’, and so on, nothing is achieved. But what does your child see in you? How do you live and what do you radiate? Does Christ radiate in you? That is what is transmitted to your child. This is where the secret lies. And if this is done when the child is young, it will not be necessary for it to undergo ‘great travail’ when it grows up. Solomon the Wise uses a beautiful image about exactly this subject, un­derlining the importance of a good start and good foundations: He who Wisd. 6:14 seeks her [Wisdom] early shall have no great travail; for he shall find her [DC] sitting at his doors. The person who ‘seeks her early’ is the person who oc­cupies himself with Wisdom from an early age. Wisdom is Christ.

When the parents are saintly and transmit this to the child and give the child an upbringing ‘in the Lord’, then the child, whatever the bad influences around it, will not be affected because by the door of its heart will be Wisdom — Christ Himself. The child will not undergo great tra vail to acquire Wisdom. It seems very difficult to become good, but in reality it is very easy when from an early age you start with good expe­riences. As you grow up effort is not required; you have goodness within you and you experience it. You don’t weary yourself; it is yours, a pos­session which you preserve, if you are careful, throughout your life.

A selection from Wounded by Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios, trans. by John Raffan (Limni, Evia, Greece: Denise Harvey, 2005), 195-205.

Commemoration slips
  • Rules for Zapiski
  • Enter Names in RUSSIAN or ENGLISH language ONLY. 
  • The names of the living are written on the red-ink form, names of the departed on the black-ink form.
  • Proper Christian names received at baptism should be used, no nicknames or shortened forms: 
    i.e., Theodore, not Ted; Margaret, not Peggy.
  • Do not include last names/surnames. Only first names.
  • You can specify illness by preceding the name with “ill”, for example:
    ill infant John 
    But do not specify a reason for the illness, for example,  this is not appropriate: 
    “infant John – high temperature” <- Not acceptable
  • To indicate someone who is non-Orthodox please use parentheses around their names, for example: (Darren), (Jamie), (Sheryl), etc.
  • Please use full clergy titles when submitting. These include: Patriarch, Metropolitan, Archbishop, Bishop, Archimandrite, Archpriest, Abbot, Hieromonk, Priest, Archdeacon, Protodeacon, Hierodeacon, Deacon, Subdeacon, Reader.
  • Other titles include: Schema-Monk, Rassaphore Monk, Monk, Novice, Abbess, Nun, Church Warden, Choir Director.
  • Please do not enter clergy as, for example: “Fr. John”. Try to figure out what their rank is and enter it as “Priest John” or “Deacon John“, etc. but not:
    Fr. John” <- Not acceptable 
    Rev. John” <- Not acceptable
    If you are not sure of the exact rank use the closest one.
  • Do not overload each line with multiple names. For example:
    George, Mary, Elizabeth, John, Katherine   <- Not acceptable
    Victor, Nicholas, Anthony & Michael  <- Not acceptable
  • Make sure there is ONLY ONE NAME PER LINE. You may have two columns of names per form.