Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Praying" to Saints

Probably "praying" isn't a good word for the Orthodox practice. It is technically correct, for to "pray" means simply to "ask," or plead. It does not necessarily even have any religious meaning at all. Yet in this culture, it has become synonymous with "worship," and that, of course, conveys entirely the wrong message. We do not worship saints.

Christopher Orr has compiled a list of Scriptural and patrisitic quotations, which he says is not exhaustive, to illustrate that the practice is very ancient.

I am hoping to write a little "FAQ" piece on prayer to the saints in the next couple of days (although right now I must take advantage of this weather, which, being neither too hot nor too cool, is perfect for cleaning out my attic). Meanwhile, I found a list, on the Internet, of some of the hymns we sing to saints, said hymns comprising by far the bulk of what we ever say to a given saint. From that list, I pulled the first few saints who might be of special interest, either because they are American saints, or because they were from Thessaloniki, or whatever. I list hymns to each one here, just to show everybody how harmless they are. Truly!

St. Raphael of Brooklyn

Troparion (Tone 3) Rejoice, O Father Raphael, Adornment of the Holy Church! You are champion of the true Faith, seeker of the lost, consolation of the oppressed, father to orphans, and friend of the poor, peacemaker and good shepherd, joy of all the Orthodox, son of Antioch, boast of America: Intercede with Christ God for us and for all who honor you.

Kontakion (Tone 3) Today the memory of blessed Raphael has shone on us; for having received Christ's call, he faithfully took up his cross and followed Him becoming a fisher of men. Let us cry aloud to him saying: Rejoice O Father Raphael!

St. Mark of Ephesus

Troparion (Tone 4) By your profession of faith, O all-praised Mark the Church has found you to be a zealot for truth. You fought for the teaching of the Fathers; you cast down the darkness of boastful pride. Intercede with Christ God to grant forgiveness to those who honor you!

Kontakion (Tone 3) Clothed with invincible armor, O blessed one, you cast down rebellious pride, you served as the instrument of the Comforter, and shone forth as the champion of Orthodoxy. Therefore we cry to you: "Rejoice, Mark, the boast of the Orthodox!"

St. Innocent of Alaska

Troparion (Tone 4) O Holy Father Innocent, in obedience to the will of God, you accepted dangers and tribulations, bringing many peoples to the knowledge of truth. You showed us the way. Now by your prayers help lead us into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Troparion (Tone 2) You evangelized the northern people of America and Asia,
proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the natives in their own tongues. O holy hierarch Father Innocent, Enlightener of Alaska and all America, whose ways were ordered by the Lord, pray to Him for the salvation of our souls in His Heavenly Kingdom!

St. Gregory Palamas

Troparion (Tone 8) [1] O light of Orthodoxy, teacher of the Church, its confirmation, O ideal of monks and invincible champion of theologians, O wonder working Gregory, glory of Thessalonica and preacher of grace, always intercede before the Lord that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion (Tone 8) [2] Holy and divine instrument of wisdom, joyful trumpet of theology, together we sing your praises, O God-inspired Gregory. Since you now stand before the Original Mind, guide our minds to Him, O Father, so that we may sing to you: "Rejoice, preacher of grace."

St. Polycarp

Troparion (Tone 4) By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, you became a successor to their throne. Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God; by teaching the word of truth without error, you defended the Faith, even to the shedding of your blood. Hieromartyr Polycarp, entreat Christ God to save our souls.

Kontakion (Tone 1) Through virtues, you offered spiritual fruit to the Lord, therefore, you were glorified as a worthy hierarch, wise Polycarp. Today, we who have been enlightened by your words extol in song your praiseworthy memory,
thereby giving glory to the Lord.

St. Alexis (Toth) of Wilkes-Barre

Troparion (Tone 4) O righteous Father Alexis, our heavenly intercessor and teacher, divine adornment of the Church of Christ! Entreat the Master of All to strengthen the Orthodox Faith in America, to grant peace to the world; and to our souls, great mercy!

Kontakion (Tone 5) Let us, the faithful, praise the Priest Alexis, a bright beacon of Orthodoxy in America, a model of patience and humility, a worthy shepherd of the Flock of Christ. He called back the sheep who had been led astray and brought them by his preaching to the Heavenly Kingdom!


Anonymous said...

Here is a link for Saints that have been given grace for healing and other conditions when their commemoration occurs:

God bless,
Fr. Milovan

Shamassy Monica said...

Oh, Thank you! Do you know of a link where I could hear the tones actually sung? I'd love to add these to the treasure chest of songs I sing to my little ones, but I don't know how the tune goes.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Monica, unfortunately, I don't know.


Emily H. said...

Saint Emmelia

May 8th
Troparion (Tone 1)
Through thee the divine likeness was securely preserved, O Mother Emmelia; for thou didst carry the cross and follow Christ. By example and precept thou didst teach us to ignore the body because it is perishable, and to attend to the concerns of the undying soul. Therefore, doth thy soul rejoice with the angels.