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Author Topic: Prayer of Manasseh  (Read 2486 times)

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Online Justin Kissel

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Prayer of Manasseh
« on: October 31, 2009, 07:54:24 PM »
What do you all think of the Prayer of Manasseh? I was able to find a few references to Manasseh in the Church Fathes  (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 2, 14; St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 39, 17; Epistle 77), but not much. Anyone know of other references?

I've read that some manuscripts of the Septuagint included the Prayer of Manasseh as an appendix to the Psalms, and that it was included as an appendix in some versions of the Vulgate up till the 16th century. I've also read that one of the reasons that this text was rejected from the canon was the following statement: "Thou therefore, O Lord, that art the God of the just, hast not appointed repentance to the just, as to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, which have not sinned against thee" (emphasis mine).

Thoughts?

Offline Salpy

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Re: Prayer of Manasseh
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2009, 08:29:29 PM »
That prayer is recited in the Armenian Church during Lent.  I've noticed that line and thought it a little odd.  I've never heard any explanation, or indeed any commentary at all on it.  I'd be interested in what others have to say about it.

Offline Salpy

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Re: Prayer of Manasseh
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2009, 08:39:35 PM »
I just found this about the prayer, although it doesn't address the issue above:

http://www.stnersess.edu/classroom/sml/daily/arevakal/index.php


Prayer of Manasseh (Մանասէի Աղօթքը)
       
Description: The Prayer of Manasseh is an early Christian penitential prayer that survives in many ancient languages including Armenian. The prayer is inspired by King Manasseh, the only son and successor of the Jewish King Hezekiah. After falling into idolatry, Manasseh "entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God received his entreaty and heard his supplication and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom" [2Chronicles 33:12-13]. The Prayer of Manasseh has circulated since ancient times as the king's entreaty. The Armenian version appends a Christian supplication, proclamation and prayer of absolution. In ancient times the Prayer of Manasseh was recited during the Evening Service, though eventually it came to be offered during the Morning Service, where it is found in the Book of Hours (Zhamakeerk). In recent times it has become the custom to offer the prayer at the end of the Sunrise Service (Arevakal) during Great Lent.

Offline Salpy

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Re: Prayer of Manasseh
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2009, 08:51:10 PM »
The prayer is found in the Bible at the end of 2 Chronicles. 

The Armenian version, with the Christian prayer attached to it, is here:

http://www.stnersess.edu/globalClassroom/sacredMusicLab/arevakal/Manasseh.pdf

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Prayer of Manasseh
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2009, 08:54:25 PM »
What do you all think of the Prayer of Manasseh? I was able to find a few references to Manasseh in the Church Fathes  (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 2, 14; St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 39, 17; Epistle 77), but not much. Anyone know of other references?

I've read that some manuscripts of the Septuagint included the Prayer of Manasseh as an appendix to the Psalms, and that it was included as an appendix in some versions of the Vulgate up till the 16th century. I've also read that one of the reasons that this text was rejected from the canon was the following statement: "Thou therefore, O Lord, that art the God of the just, hast not appointed repentance to the just, as to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, which have not sinned against thee" (emphasis mine).

Thoughts?


This is one of my favorite prayers of all time and I love hearing it at Great Compline during Great Lent. 

As far as your question goes, I would only suggest that Manasseh is simply stating how much he has sinned and that is so great that, by comparison, Abraham, Issac and Jacob have never sinned.  As a corollary, I would reference St. Symeon the New Thelogians' prayer before communion where he states "that no one has sinned as I have in Thy sight."  Now, although I'm sure Symeon did not sin much, but, in his eyes, and indeed in all of our eyes, we should look upon our sins as the greatest and that all other people are saints when compared to us.  St. John Chrysostom, in his precommunion prayer, says that Christ "did come into the world to save sinners of whom I am first."  With sin, we are all first.  It is meant to be a protection lest we otherwise should condemn others since we have no right to do so. 
I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene

Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Prayer of Manasseh
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2015, 05:32:17 AM »
We can apparently now add polls to threads we create. Even 5 1/2 year old threads. :o  :angel:

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