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
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