In the course of the year we read many beautiful prayers and blessings, a selection of which is set out here for the instruction and edification of our parishioners and friends. The selection will be added to from time to time.
O Master, Lord our God, Fountain of life and immortality, the Creator of all things both visible and invisible, Who has appointed seasons and years by Thy power, and dost direct all things by Thy most-wise and all-gracious providence: We thank Thee for Thy compassions, which Thou hast poured out upon us during the passing time of our life, and we entreat Thee, O All-compassionate Lord! Bless the crown of the coming year with Thy goodness. Preserve our civil authorities; multiply the days of their life in unalterable health, and grant them progress in every virtue. Grant Thy good things from above unto Thy people: health and salvation, and good hastening in all things. Deliver Thy Holy Church, this city, and every city and land from every evil circmstance, granting them peace and tranquility. And count us worthy that we may always offer thanksgiving unto Thee, the Father Who is without beginning, together with Thine Only-begotten Son, and Thine All-holy and Lifegiving Spirit, God glorified in one essence, and that we may hymn Thy most-holy Name. Glory to Thee, O God, our benefactor, unto the ages of ages. Amen.
O Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour, who art hymned by the Cherubim and glorified by the Seraphim: Do Thou look down with merciful eyes upon these books of the Psalms and Divine Service, which are offered by Thy servants to the glorification of Thy Holy Name in Thy Holy Church. Bless them with Thy heavenly blessing, and sanctify them by the sprinkling of this Holy Water, and make them profitable for singing and reading unto Thy praise, and for our supplication. Do Thou Thyself, O All-good Lord, through the holy words of the hymns and reading speak unto the hearts of them that are honouring them and listening to them in these books, that, with compunction, they bring their prayers unto Thee and always glorify Thy most-holy and splendid Name, together with the Father and the Most-holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999), page 288
O Lord God Almighty, God of our Fathers, Who hast said through Thy chosen vessel, the Apostle Paul, that all Thy creation is good and that nothing is rejected which through Thy divine Word and prayer is sanctified: Mercifully look down upon these vessels which Thy servants have provided for the glory of Thy most-holy Name and to the service of Thy Holy Altar and, with Thy heavenly blessing and the prayer of us, thine unworthy servants and servers, mercifully bless and sanctify them and manifest them to be worthy for the service of Thy Holy Altar, bestowing upon them Thy heavenly grace, and grant them [Thy servants] remission of sins and make them partakers of Thy Kingdom. For Thou art the God of mercy and compassion and love for mankind, and unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thy Most-holy, Good and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999), page 256
O Lord God, Father Almighty, Who didst command Moses, thy servant and lawgiver on Mount Sinai to prepare various adornments, coverings and fine vestments for use in the service of the Tent of Testimony and at Thy lawful sanctuary: Do Thou now also, we fervently beseech Thee, as Thou didst then compassionately accept those things and didst sanctify them by the hand of Aaron, mercifully accept these things, through Thy Holy Spirit, through the hand of me, a sinner, [and] bless, purify and sanctify them, and make them worthy for the covering and wrapping of these Thy Holy Table and Table of Oblation of Thy Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. For every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from Thee on High. And unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thine Only-begotten Son, and Thy Most-holy, Good and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999), page 253
The Artos is a large rounded loaf of bread with symbols on it depicting or signifying the Resurrection of Christ. It symbolises the physical presence of the resurrected Christ, the Bread of Life, amongst His disciples. It is customarily blessed at Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of Pascha and broken and distributed at Divine Liturgy on either Bright Saturday or Thomas Sunday.
Prayer at the blessing of the Artos on the Holy Sunday of Pascha
O God All-powerful and Lord Almighty, Who by Thy servant Moses, at the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, and the liberation of Thy people from the bitter slavery of Pharoah, didst command that a lamb be slain, prefiguring the Lamb Who, because of our deeds, of His own will, wast slain on the Cross, and tooketh away the sins of the whole world, Thy beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: Do Thou now, also, we humbly beseech Thee, look down upon this bread, and bless and sanctify it. For we Thy servants, in honour and glory, and in commemoration of the glorious Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom, also, we have received freedom and release from the eternal slavery of the enemy and the indissoluble bonds of Hades, do now offer this before Thy majesty on this exceedingly bright, most-glorious and saving day of Pascha. And count worthy we who offer this, and they that shall kiss it and taste of it, to become partakers of Thy heavenly blessing; and by Thy might drive away from us every sickness and infirmity, grant health unto all. For Thou are the fountain of blessings, and the Bestower of healings, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father Who is without beginning, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and Thy Most-holy, Good, and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999, page 338
Prayer at the breaking of the Artos on the Saturday of Bright Week
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, the Angelic Bread, the Bread of life eternal, Who camest down from Heaven, and hast nourished us on these bright days with the spiritual food of Thy divine benefits, for the sake of Thy saving Resurrection on the third day: Do Thou look down now also, we humbly beseech Thee, upon our prayers and thanksgivings; and as Thou didst bless the five loaves in the wilderness, do Thou now bless this bread, that all who taste of it may be worthy of bodily and spiritual health and blessing, through the grace and compassion of Thy love for mankind. For Thou art our sanctification, and unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thy Father Who is without beginning, and Thy All-holy, Good, and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999, page 340
O Master, Lord our God, Who didst hear Elijah the Tishbite because of his zeal for Thee, and for a time didst command that the rain be held back from being sent to the earth, and again at his prayer didst grant it fruit-bearing rain: Do Thou Thyself, O Master of all, Who art being entreated, out of Thy deep compassion grant abundant rain unto Thine inheritance; and, overlooking our sins, do Thou send down Thy rains upon every place entreating and praying for it. Make glad the face of the earth, for the sake if Thy poor people and infants, and animals and all others, for they trust in Thee, that Thou wilt give drink unto them in due season. For Thou art our God, a God Who showeth mercy and saveth, and unto Thee do we send up glory : to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume IV (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999), page 50
O Lord Jesus Christ, Whose mercies cannot be contained and Whose bounties are ineffable; Who are wondrous in glory and Who works miracles, Who by the operation of the Holy Spirit once blessed Israel and nourished them with honey from a rock: As the same Lord, look down now from above on this Your work, and with Your heavenly blessing bless and consecrate this honeycomb and the honey that comes from it. Grant to it the action of a blessing beyond all perfection, so that all tasting of it, receiving it and eating it, may find good health, and by this nourishment be satisfied and filled with all good things. For You are He Who bestows all good things, and to You we ascribe glory, together with Your Father Who is without beginning, and Your Most-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
The Abridged Books of Needs (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon's Seminary Press)
O Lord our God, the hope of all that honour Thee and call upon Thine all-holy name, bless this koliva [and/or these offerings] set forth [in Thy Holy Church] in memory of Thy servant[s] (name) who has [have] fallen asleep. And grant unto him [or her or them] for whose sake these things are brought a place in the land of Life, repose, and forgiveness of sins. Yea, Master, knowing human infirmity, enter not into judgment with Thy servant[s] who with faith and hope hath taken up his [or her or their] abode with Thee. Grant us to proceed in holiness in the way of Thy commandments, and remember all who from the ages have stood before Thee in the hope of resurrection and life eternal. For Thou art the resurrection and the life and the repose of Thy servants who have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thine unoriginate Father and Thine all-holy and good and life-creating spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Translated from Требник (Москва: Издательство Московсой Патриархии, 2000), стр. 224
O Lord our God, Who sittest upon the Cherubim; Who didst reaffirm the power of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that He might save the world through his Cross, Burial and Resurrection: (And when He had come to Jerusalem for His voluntary Passion, the people that sat in darkness and the shadow of death took, as emblems of the Resurrection, boughs of tress and palm branches, thus signifying the Resurrection). Do Thou Thyself, O Master, keep and preserve us also, who, following their example on this prefestal day, bear in our hands palms and branches. As Thou didst those people and children that [cried out] "Hosanna" unto Thee, save us also, that in hymns and spiritual songs we may be counted worthy to attain unto the lifegiving Resurrection on the Third Day: in Christ Jesus, our Lord, with Whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy Most-holy, Good, and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999), page 308
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Who didst bless the five loaves and didst satisfy the five thousand: Do Thou Thyself bless also these loaves, whaet, wine, and oil; and multiply them in this city and in all Thy world; and sanctify the faithful that partake of them. For it is Thou that dost bless and sanctify all things, O Christ our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thine unorinate Father, and Thine All-holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Clergy Service Book: The All-Night Vigil (Rassaphore-Monk Laurence, 2002), page 138
O Lord Almighty, God of our Fathers: Thou didst command of old in the Old Testament that the likeness of cherubim of wood and gold and the work of weavers be fashioned in the Tent of Testimony; and now, Thou dost not reject, but acceptest images and likenesses of Thy favourites, the Saints, so that Thy faithful servants, looking on them, might glorify Thee Who hast been glorified in them, striving zealously in life and deed to imitate them, and through them to be counted worthy to be receptacles of Thy Grace and Kingdom. Do Thou look now, we pray Thee, upon these Icons, represented and written in honour and memory of Thy Saints [names], and through Thy heavenly blessing, bless and sanctify them, and all honouring them, worshipping Thee and praying to Thee before them, calling upon Saints [names] to pray unto Thee; and as unto Thy servants and friends, hearken mercifully and be Thou a gracious and bountiful Bestower, delivering them from every sickness, both spiritual and bodily, granting unto them that desire it, Thy grace and loving-kindness, through the prayers of Thy Saints [names]. For Thou art the Fountain of Sanctification and the Giver of Good, and unto Thee do we offer up glory, together with Thine Only-begotten Son, and Thy Most-holy, Good and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Grapes and other fruit are customarily blessed on 19 August (6 August on the Julian Calendar), the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. In a number of parishes of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia fruit is now also blessed on 15 February (2 February on the Julian Calendar), the Great Feast of the Meeting of the Lord. This latter practice reflects life in the southern hemisphere, where February rather than August is late in the summer and so peak grape season.
Prayer at the partaking of grapes on the sixth day of August
Bless, O Lord, this new fruit of the vine, which, through temperate weather, through showers of rain and times of calm, has attained to ripeness at this hour, according to Thy good pleasure. May our partaking of this birth of the vine be for gladness, and for the offering of a gift unto Thee for the cleansing of sins, through the sacred and holy Body of Thy Christ, with whom thou art blessed, together with thy most holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer for those who offer first fruits
O Master, Lord our God, who commandest everyone to offer to Thee thine own of thine own, according to their intention, granting them in return thine eternal good things, and who didst favourably accept the offering of the widow which was according to her ability: now also accept these things offered by Thy servants [here present], counting them worthy to lay up the same in thine eternal treasury. And grant them an abundant harvest of thine eternal good things, together with all things that are profitable unto them. For blessed is Thy Name, and glorified is Thy kingdom: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
A Small Book of Needs (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon's Seminary Press, 2002), pages 143-144