Fr. Thomas Colyandro
Third Kneeling Prayer of Pentecost
This is a vocal prayer read in the context of Vespers at Pentecost in anticipation of the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. Along with the other two kneeling prayers, it is more expressly theological in character. Though the language may be exacting at points, these words provide us with a fuller explanation of what the Holy Trinity and each of its Holy Persons are and do. As such, it offers us a great bit of material for meditation (the bold type below is added to help you identify phrases that might lead you to deeper prayer), particularly as it relates to growing into the next level of the spiritual life, which is Theoria.
Notice that this prayer begins by addressing Jesus Christ and reminds us that the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, by His love, mercy, and power, lights the path of salvation and lays waste to all that can assail us. At the same time, this section is a reminder that we must participate in His great and glorious work of redemption. Near the end, this prayer affirms God as Holy Trinity, and explains the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and remains with all of us throughout humanity. It is also clear that the Holy Spirit lights us with the fire of divine knowledge, gives us strength in faith, and leads us to everlasting life.
"O Fountain, ever-flowing, living, illumining; Power creative, coeternal with the Father, O Christ our God, who has most excellently fulfilled all the plan for the salvation of mankind; who shattered the bonds indestructible of Death, and the bolts of Hell, and trampled under foot a host of evil spirits; who offered yourself a blameless victim for us, giving your all-holy body for a sacrifice inviolate, and unassailed of every sin, and who, through that terrible and ineffable act of sacrifice, did bestow upon us life eternal; who did descend into Hell, and break the everlasting bars, and show a way up unto those who abode in the lower world; and having enticed, by divinely wise allurements, the origin of mischief and the serpent of the abyss, and bound him with cords of nethermost gloom and fire unquenchable in Tartarus, and confined him in outer darkness, by your infinite and fettering might, O Wisdom greatly glorified of the Father, you manifested yourself as a mighty helper of the assailed; and enlightened those who sat in the darkness and in the shadow of death, do you, O Lord of the everlasting glory and Son beloved of the Father most high, Light Eternal of Light Eternal, the Son of Righteousness, hear us, who now make our fervent supplications unto you, and give rest to the souls of your servants, our fathers (and mothers) and brethren, and our other kinsmen after the flesh, and of all who are of the household of faith, who have fallen asleep, and who we now call to remembrance.
"For you have power over all things, and in your hand you uphold all the ends of the earth. O Master Almighty, the God of our fathers and Lord of mercy, Creator of the race of mortals and immortals, and of every nature of man; of that which is brought together and is again put asunder; of life and of death; of sojourn in the world that now is, and of translation to the world which is to come: you mete out the years of life, and appoint the time of death; you bring down to Hell, and again raise up; you bind unto impotency and loose unto power, order things present according to their necessity, and appointing things to come as is expedient, quickening with the hope of Resurrection those who were smitten with the sting of death.
"For you are, of a truth, the Master of all, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth, and of those who are afar off upon the sea; Who, on this last, and great, and redeeming day of the Pentecostal Feast, did reveal unto us the mystery of the Holy Trinity, one in Essence, coeternal, undivided and unmingled; and did pour out the indwelling of fire, upon your holy and life-giving Spirit, in the form of tongues of fire, upon your holy apostles; and appointed the same to be the heralds of the glad tidings of our holy faith; and made them confessors and teachers of the true divine knowledge; who also, on this all-perfect and saving Feast, are graciously pleased to accept propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in Hell, promising unto us who are held in bondage great hope of release from the vileness that hinders us and hindered them; and that you will send down your consolation.
"Hear us, your humble ones, who make our supplications unto you, and give rest to the souls of your servants who have fallen asleep, in a place of light, a place of verdure, a place of refreshment where all sickness, sorrow, and sighing have fled away; and establish their souls in the mansions of the Just; and graciously vouchsafe unto them peace and pardon; for the dead shall not praise you, O Lord, neither shall they who are in Hell make bold to offer to you confession. But we who are living will bless you, and will pray, and offer you propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for their souls."
- This prayer can be found in the Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic Church; compiled, translated, and arranged by Isabel Florence Hapgood; printed by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, 6th ed., 1983, p. 254.
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