Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN PRAYERS
To The Theotokos:
Most Glorious, Ever-Virgin, Blessed Theotokos, Present our prayer to your Son and our God, and pray for us that He may save our souls.
To The Holy Trinity:
My hope is the Father, My refuge is the Son, My shelter is the Holy Spirit, O Holy Trinity, Glory be to Thee.
To The Theotokos:
My every hope, I place upon you, O Mother of God, Keep me safe under your protection.
THE ACT OF PRAYER
by Saint Theophan the Recluse
"Not every act of prayer is prayer. Standing at home before your icons, or in church, and venerating them is not yet prayer, but the "equipment" of prayer. Reading prayers either by heart or from book, or hearing someone else read them is not yet prayer, but only a tool or method for obtaining and awakening prayer. Prayer itself is the piercing of our hearts by pious feelings towards God, one after another--feelings of humility, submission, gratitude, doxology, forgiveness, heartfelt prostration, brokenness, conformity to the will of God, etc. All of our effort should be directed so that during prayers, these feelings and feelings like them should fill our souls, so that the heart would not be empty when the lips are reading the prayers, or when the ears hear and the body bows in prostrations, but that there would be some qualitative feeling, some striving toward God. When these feelings are present, our praying is prayer, and when they are absent, it is not yet prayer."
On August 31st Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers, and every righteous spirit made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Placing of the Venerable Sash of the Most Holy Theotokos; St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage; Four Holy Martyrs of Perge in Pamphylia; Eight Virgin-Martyrs of Gaza; 366 Holy Martyrs of Nicomedia; Saint John, Metropolitan of Kiev; St. Aidan, Bishop of Liderfarne; Holy Martyrs Menas, Faustus, Andrew, Heraclius, Phileortos, and Diadoch.
PLACING OF THE VENERABLE SASH OF THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS. The Placing of the Venerable Belt (Sash) of the Most Holy Theotokos in a church of Constantinople's Chalcoprateia district took place during the reign of the emperor Theodosios the Younger. Before this, pious Christians at Jerusalem kept the holy relic, entrusted to the Holy Apostle Thomas by the Theotokos Herself after Her Dormition (Koimisis).
During the reign of Emperor Leo the Wise ( 886-911 AD), his wife Zoe was afflicted with an unclean spirit, and he prayed that God would heal her. The empress had a vision that she would be healed of her infirmity if the Belt (Sash) of the Theotokos were placed upon her. The emperor then asked the Patriarch to open the coffer. The Patriarch removed the seal and opened the coffer in which the holy relic was kept, and the Belt of the Theotokos appeared whole and undamaged by time. The Patriarch placed the Belt on the sick empress, and immediately she was freed from her infirmity. They chanted hymns of thanksgiving to the Most Holy Theotokos, and then they placed the Venerable Belt back into the coffer and resealed it.
In commemoration of the miraculous occurrence and the twofold Placing of the Venerable Belt, the Feast of the Placing of the Venerable Sash of the Most Holy Theotokos was established. Parts of the Holy Belt are in the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, in Trier Monastery, and in Georgia.
Apolytikion (Dismissal Hymn). Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
O Ever-Virgin Theotokos, shelter of mankind, you have bestowed a mighty investure upon your people, even your immaculate body's raiment and sash, which by thy seedless childbirth have remained incorrupt, for in your nature and time are made new. Therefore, we implore you to grant peace to the world, and great mercy to our souls.
Kontakion (Second Tone)
Your precious sash, O Theotokos, which encompassed your God-receiving womb, is an invincible force for thy flock, and unfailing treasury of every good, O Only Ever-Virgin Mother.
By the holy intercessions of the Most Holy Mother of God, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 9:1-7
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 10:38-42, 11:27-28
FROM THE HOLY VOICE OF THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"When a man walks in the fear of God he knows no fear, even if he were to be surrounded by wicked men. He has the fear of God within him and wears the invincible armor of faith. This makes him strong and able to take on anything, even things which seem difficult or impossible to most people. Such a man is like a giant surrounded by monkeys, or a roaring lion among dogs and foxes. He goes forward, trusting in the Lord and the constancy of His will to strike and paralyze his foes. He wields the blazing club of the Word in wisdom". [Saint Symeon the New Theologian]
PRAYERS TO THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS FOR EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK
All-Merciful Virgin Theotokos, Mother of compassions and love for mankind, my Most Beloved hope and aspiration! O Mother of the Most Sweet and Most Desired Savior, Who exceedeth every love, Jesus Christ, the Lover of mankind and my God, the Light of my darkened soul I, the exceeding sinful and hopeless one, fall down before thee, to thee I make my prayer, O well-spring of compassion, Virgin Mary, who did bear the Abyss of compassion and Depth or mercies and lover for mankind: Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, I painfully cry to thee; have mercy on me who am all in wounds, who have fallen among brutish thieves and who am, alas!, stripped naked of the garment in which the Father clothed me. Wherefore I lie stripped of every good deed, my wounds, stinking and festering before my madness. My Mistress, Theotokos, look down on me, I humbly pray thee, with thy merciful eye and despise me not, who am all in darkness, all in filth, all immersed in the mire of passions, terribly fallen and unable to stand. Do thou take pity on me and grant me a helping hand, lift me up out of sinful depths, O my joy! Deliver me from them that surround me; make thy face to shine upon thy servant; save the perishing, cleanse the filthy, raise up the terrible fallen: for thou can do all things, as thou art the Mother of God Almighty. Pour forth on me that oil of thy compassion and grant me to overflow the wine of compunction, for I have acquired thee as truly the only hope in my life; turn thou not away from me who flee to thee, but behold my grief, O Virgin, and the longing of my soul and accept this prayer and save me, O thou the Intercessor of my salvation. Amen.
From polluted lips thou a prayer, O unblemished, Pure and Most-Pure Virgin Theotokos, and despise not my words, O my joy, but look down on me and have pity, O Mother of my Creator. During my lifetime do thou not abandon me, for thou knowest, O Mistress, that I place all my hope on thee and all mine aspiring is alter thee. Wherefore, at the time also of my death, stand thou before me, O my helper, and be not then ashamed of me. For I know, O Virgin, that I am guilty of many sins, and I, the wretched one, tremble, contemplating that hour. But thou, my Joy, reveal unto me then thy presence, work thy mercy marvelously upon me, O Intercessor of my salvation. Rescue me, O Mistress, from the cruelty of the demons, and from the fearsome and terrible trial of the spirits of the air, and deliver me from their malice, and transform all that grief and sorrow into joy by thine enlightenment and grant me to pass unharmed through the principalities and powers of darkness and to attain to worship at the throne of glory before Christ Our God Who sitteth there with His Beginningless Father and All-Holy Spirit. Amen.
O my Most Holy Mistress, the Theotokos, who are far more honorable than the Angels and Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, and far more Holy than all the Saints, O Virgin Mother of God Save me, thy humble and sinful servant, for thou knowest, All-Merciful Lady, that, Alter God, I place all my hope in thee, and that I have no other refuge of salvation but thee, O All-Good One. Thou are my strength, O Mistress, thou are my power, thou my rejoicing in sorrows, thou my haven in temptations, thou my correction in falls, thou also mine all hoped for salvation, O Mother of my Lord and Creator! Help me, who sail upon the depths of this life, terribly beset and endangered by drowning in sin. Grant me a helping hand, my helper, and deliver me from the mire of the deep, that I not sink down into the abyss of despair; for the storm of sins and passions has risen against me and the waves of transgressions overwhelm me. But do thou, O Compassionate Mother, thou haven of passionlessness, direct and save me, O hope of the hopeless and the Intercessor of my salvation. Amen.
O Theotokos, thou are my hope, thou are a wall and haven of good hope and a refuge of salvation for me who am exhausted by the presence of passions. Save me from all mine enemies that persecute my soul and hunt for it with various temptations; for on the way wherein I walk they have hidden many snares for me, many scandals, many hardships, many deceptions, and many afflictions of soul and body snare me into sinful falls and I, the wretched one, have already fallen into the traps of the enemy and am bound and held by them; and what I shall do, I the despairing one? I know not! For if I seek to repeat, I am held by lack of feelings and hardness of heart and a single tear! Alas for my cursed state! Alas for my deprivation! Alas for my poverty! To whom then, can I turn, I the guilty one? Only to thee, the compassionate Mother of Our Lord and Savior, the hope of the hopeless, the wall and protection of them that flee unto thee! Turn not away from me who an filthy: I have thee as the only consolation in my life, O Virgin Mary Theotokos, and to thee alone in every need do I flee with boldness; do not abandon me, then, in this life an at the hour of my death come thou to mine aid, O my helper, that all mine enemies may behold thee and be put to shame, being conquered by thee, O Mistress, Intercessor of my salvation. Amen.
[Please note: There is a prayer for Every Day of the Week to our Theotokos for those who have need to pray to her and seek her holy intercessions.]
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinful and unworthy servant of God