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Author Topic: Prayers before Communion  (Read 7390 times) Average Rating: 0
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MartinIntlStud
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« on: April 06, 2003, 02:38:06 AM »

I'm somewhat new to Orthodoxy(about 2 years, but gone through about a year or so of relative inactivity) and I know we are supposed to pray before approaching the chalice for the Eucharist, but is there a specific prayer to pray?

PS, I did go through a catechism but it focused mostly on doctrinal differences between my former Church and Orthodoxy. And it was over 2 years ago, so I don't remember as much as I should.
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2003, 07:46:00 AM »

Welcome Martin.

In the Jordanville or Holy Trinity Prayer Book, there are prayers for both before communion and after. They can be done in the morning before Divine Liturgy or if need be, in the evening, after your confession at Vespers/Vigil.

You can buy it at Saint John of Kronstadt Press via this URL:
http://www.sjkp.org/search.php?static=2508

For those in the Old Rite, their prayer book can be purchased here:
http://www.sjkp.org/search.php?static=2496

And for young children, an excellent prayer book can be bought here:
http://www.sjkp.org/search.php?static=2749

I hope this is of help. The book also includes prayers for in the morning, evening, pre-meal, post-meal, pre-work, pre-lessons, post-work, post-lessons as well as canons, akathists, the Divine Liturgy and more.
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2003, 11:52:51 AM »

Ok, I have an Antiochian Prayer book which I'm sure has it, I just haven't checked it yet because I use the prayers in the back of my Orthodox Study Bible for my morning and evening Prayers.
Thanks a lot!
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2003, 01:08:58 PM »

I would suggest skipping what the OSB represents as Morning and Evening prayers and just use the prayers from a real prayer book (I use a mix between the Jordanville and Antiochian... The Jordanville prayer book is sort of THE prayer book in English, yet I think the Antiochians have a better understanding than the Russians as to what the best rendering is in English, so I sort of use both)

Btw, just FYI, the Jordanville instructs those who plan on partaking in communion to pray 3 canons and an akathist in addition to normal pre-communion prayers. If you've ever tried it, you know that's quite a lot of praying (especially when added onto a normal evening prayer rule, and perhaps the Jesus prayer). Most Churches don't require what the Jordanville suggests, however. The Church I'm attending now, for instance, requires either 1) attendance of vigil and normal pre-communion prayers, or 2) (if vigil is missed for a good reason) saying a canon and normal pre-communion prayers. Do as your spiritual father/priest instructs though Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2003, 02:29:08 PM »

The following was written by my priest for today's Sunday bulletin at church:

PREPARATION FOR THE HOLY COMMUNION

The most wonderful thing about man is that he was created to contain God.  Holy Communion is the miracle of miracles!  To receive the Divine Guest carelessly, without due attention, means that we condemn ourselves.  Let it not be so!  Here are some short specific suggestions for those wishing to take Communion.

On the day of Communion, it is imperative to come to church at the beginning of the Liturgy and on an empty stomach, that is, to refrain from food and drink, and also from smoking, from the preceding midnight.

The Orthodox Prayer Book contains some very moving prayers "Rule for the Holy Communion" written by the Church Fathers that are designed to be read before and after Communion.  These prayers give us the proper attitude for the reception of Communion.

Only having sincere faith and repentance should we approach the Chalice.  No hostilities or grudges or dissension must be brought there.  For those who participate in the Holy Eucharist regularly, it is not necessary to go to Confession before each Communion.  It is up to our father-confessor to decide how often we should go to Confession, although monthly Confession is recommended.  Those who take Communion rarely must come for Confession before each time.

Those preparing for Communion should pray at the evening Divine Service in church on the eve of the day of Communion.

Approaching the Chalice, the faithful fold their arms in the form of a cross.  In order not to push the Chalice accidentally, we do not make the sign of the cross in front of the Holy Gifts.  Having reverence for the Holy Chalice, ladies must remove lipstick before the Communion.
______________________________
You will note that Father simply says "Orthodox Prayer Book" above.  This could be the Jordanville Prayer Book (ROCOR), Orthodox Daily Prayers (St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, 1982), or any other standard Orthodox prayer book from jurisdictions other than the ROCOR or the OCA that contains the prayers for both before and after the reception of Holy Communion.  Personally, even though I own 2 Jordanville Prayer Books, I prefer the prayer book published by St. Tikhon's Seminary Press for easier readability in language style.

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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2003, 09:22:31 PM »

Dear MartinIntlStud,

IMHO prayers before communion are extremely important.  To the best of my knowledge such is the position of the Church.  As another poster suggested your spiritual father or father confessor is the one with whom you should establish your prayer rule for confession.  If this is not your pastor, or if you do not have a spiritual father/father confessor then it should be your pastor.  As also noted most prayer books have something, some more or less abbreviated and some with/without the framework into which one inserts the prayers, etc.  Also there is some difference with regard to different traditions, Russian and Greek are obvious here.  The Antiochian practice likely follows the Greek, although not necessarily.  

Speaking from experience and very subjectively, I find that praying the complete preparation as I practice it is very helpful in my participation in Liturgy.  

Also, don't forget the prayers of thanksgiving if they are not read in your parish.  I have known of some parishes that either have the "preparation" in church before Vigil/Vespers or the canon(s) in the morning somehow before, after or combined with the hours.  This does not seem common though.  

Tony
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2003, 01:02:13 AM »

Hypo, I agree with you.  The Jordanville Prayer Book is probably the best selection of prayers(and of printing quality) but I think the St. Tikhon's Orthodox Daily Prayers has the best english translation.  Of course, since I am in the OCA it may seem to be the best because I am so familiar with it.  I never claimed to be unbiased! Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2003, 11:13:53 AM »

Martin,

The prayers are at about page 204 in the Antiochian service book.  Those are the ones I use.
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2003, 02:38:23 PM »

I like Hypo's Priest's bulletin.
This is, as has been mentioned, a subject to be discussed with one's spiritual Father.  Personally, I read the three canons and one akathist most of the time; if not, I make sure I am at church early enough to hear the pre-Communion prayers.
I like the Jordanville and Old Believers.  I have a SVIT, but the English is horrible; the Slavonic is good, especially when learning Slavonic pronunciation; it uses no abbreviations.
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2003, 02:45:32 PM »

Greetings from one paleocon to another.
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2003, 03:41:34 PM »

Thank you.
Also, Church Abroad.
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2003, 05:29:39 PM »

I ended up getting the standard Antiochian Prayer book(the little red book), though the evening and morning prayers are actually shorter than the ones in the OSB(the OSB includes a Psalm and intercessory prayers) but it does have the Pre and Post Communion Prayers along with a lot of other stuff and it also has the Divine Liturgy.
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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2003, 08:39:54 PM »

Martin,
I am not familiar with the Antiochian prayerbook, but I do have an OSB.  The prayers in the OSB are
one thing that I dislike.  We should never address God as 'You'.
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« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2003, 09:58:48 PM »

Yes, you is an entirely too formal way of addressing God.  It is too bad that english no longer has formal and informal ways of addressing the second person, not to mention singular and plural forms of second person.
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2003, 10:53:09 PM »

I agree David, but you meant "too informal", right?
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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2003, 11:11:19 PM »

I agree David, but you meant "too informal", right?

No, I think David had it right.  "You" is more formal and less familiar than "Thee" and "Thou."

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« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2003, 11:54:00 PM »

Hypo is correct; Thee(Thou, Thy, etc) is the informal second person pronoun.  Read any Shakespeare sonnet; the lover will always refer to his beloved as thee and not you.  I think the Greek and Hebrew(especially the Psalms) also bear this out.  Same reason we use abba which is the informal father, literally daddy.
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2003, 12:31:20 AM »

I like the structures of the prayers because it includes the psalms and intercessory prayers, I wasn't referring to the use of "you", I use the Prayer Books Trisagion anyway.
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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2003, 12:43:02 AM »

Quote from Constantine Cavarnos:
"The pronoun 'You' is an ambiguous term.  It denotes both one individual and several individuals.  In the Greek language today, 'Seis' has the same ambiguous denotation. It is used both in addressing on individual and in addressing several individuals.  The Greek word 'Sy' and the English word 'Thou' are quite free of this ambiguity.  So also are the Greek word 'Soi' and the English 'to Thee', which are the dative case of the words 'Sy' and 'Thou', respectively.
Now in the original (Greek language) Divine Liturgy and hymnography of the Orthodox Church, as well as in the Greek Holy Scripture, the pronouns 'Sy' and 'Soi' (Thou and to Thee) are used in addressing God.  The unwarranted innovation of addressing God as a 'You' instead of a 'Thou' may be taken to imply that we Orthodox now believe that the Holy Trinity is not one God, but Three Gods--because of the already noted ambiguity of the term 'You.'  
An additional consideration--besides the need of avoiding abiguity--that can be brought against the innovation of addressing God as 'You' instead of Thou, is that it keeps God at a distance from us, whereas the pronoun Thou makes for intimacy.  In Greek, when we are intimate with a person, we never say 'seis'--we say 'sy'."
This is from the book 'Orthodox Christian Terminology'; a must-read for converts (my conviction; I do not have opinions).
I use common language in my secular and business dealings.
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« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2003, 08:28:44 AM »

An additional consideration--besides the need of avoiding abiguity--that can be brought against the innovation of addressing God as 'You' instead of Thou, is that it keeps God at a distance from us, whereas the pronoun Thou makes for intimacy.  

This may be true in those places where English still retains the Thee, Thou, Thine, etc. forms, but do such places exist?  As far as I can tell, everyone nowadays just uses "you" for everything, and what it means depends upon whom one is addressing.  Even though theoretically "Thee" is more informal than "You", I am not used to that so much because I don't speak like that, and so it actually turns prayer into something more formal for me.  I would argue that in today's world, "Thee" and forms related to it are more formal than "You", and so using them in liturgical prayer would be fine, although in private prayer, it might be problematic unless you're comfortable using it because it comes naturally.

All of this leads me to an interesting question, and one that would probably make an interesting thread on its own.  As Orthodox, we are used to "lofty" sounding prayers in our liturgies, offices, and private prayer books.  Does our "formal" prayer life provide an image of what our "informal" prayer life should be?  In other words, when we speak to God in our own words, should we sound like the formal prayers we make use of?  I've heard some say that yes, we should sound like that, because such is fitting for the King of Kings.  And yet, I think of the definition of prayer that I once read (I think it was attributed to St. Teresa of Avila); namely, that prayer is an "intimate conversation between friends".  Would friends talk to each other so formally?  He Who is Creator of all and Ruler of all also is revealed to us as Daddy (Abba).  I know that in my own prayer life, I simply try to talk to Him, as if He was right there next to me, as if we were friends.  But is this wrong?  Is it only OK up to a certain point?  If so, where is the line drawn?  Is there a balance between the two that we should be aiming for?
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« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2003, 08:41:43 AM »

Mor, in formal worship, I think we should use hieratic language which befits the dignity of the liturgy and not mere pedestrian language (we've already observed where that's taken public RC worship in this country).  In private prayer, however, I think we should use the language which with we are most comfortable, whether formal or informal.  God is "Abba" to us after all, is He not?

That being said, How art thou today, Mor?  Hast thou been shriven before the Holy Pasch?   Cool

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« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2003, 09:31:05 AM »

Thanks, Hypo, I am in complete agreement with you.

Yea, I was shriven on Lazarus Saturday (which for us on the Western calendar was this past Saturday), and now I find myself in the midst of Holy Week.  Unfortunately, I have a paper I should be writing as we speak, and two exams tomorrow, so although I started with a bang (Palm Sunday was pretty cool), I won't have much of a chance to actually get into the Holy Week groove until at least tomorrow night.  It's kind of a bummer, but hopefully the rest of the week will be fun.  I'm hoping to do it all again, at least in part, with the local 'dox next week after our Pascha, since you guys will just be starting Holy Week, and so maybe that'll make up for it.  Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2003, 09:42:10 AM »

An additional consideration--besides the need of avoiding abiguity--that can be brought against the innovation of addressing God as 'You' instead of Thou, is that it keeps God at a distance from us, whereas the pronoun Thou makes for intimacy.  

This may be true in those places where English still retains the Thee, Thou, Thine, etc. forms, but do such places exist?  As far as I can tell, everyone nowadays just uses "you" for everything, and what it means depends upon whom one is addressing.  Even though theoretically "Thee" is more informal than "You", I am not used to that so much because I don't speak like that, and so it actually turns prayer into something more formal for me.  I would argue that in today's world, "Thee" and forms related to it are more formal than "You", and so using them in liturgical prayer would be fine, although in private prayer, it might be problematic unless you're comfortable using it because it comes naturally.

All of this leads me to an interesting question, and one that would probably make an interesting thread on its own.  As Orthodox, we are used to "lofty" sounding prayers in our liturgies, offices, and private prayer books.  Does our "formal" prayer life provide an image of what our "informal" prayer life should be?  In other words, when we speak to God in our own words, should we sound like the formal prayers we make use of?  I've heard some say that yes, we should sound like that, because such is fitting for the King of Kings.  And yet, I think of the definition of prayer that I once read (I think it was attributed to St. Teresa of Avila); namely, that prayer is an "intimate conversation between friends".  Would friends talk to each other so formally?  He Who is Creator of all and Ruler of all also is revealed to us as Daddy (Abba).  I know that in my own prayer life, I simply try to talk to Him, as if He was right there next to me, as if we were friends.  But is this wrong?  Is it only OK up to a certain point?  If so, where is the line drawn?  Is there a balance between the two that we should be aiming for?          

St. Therese the Little Flower, a popular Latin saint, always emphasized the "little way." This being said, she lived this "little way" by offering as a prayer every task she did no matter how small or mundane. Doing something that you don't want to do (clean your room for your mother) or even something as small as picking up a piece of trash could be made into a prayer to God. Call it a Latin mentality, but through the sufferings and little annoyances in everyday life, even the little things we do can be prayers unto God.

To say one way of praying is more proper over another is, in my mind, wrong.  Your disposition, your intentions, your heart and your purity make all the difference.  One prayer said faithfully is better than one hundred said surrepetiously.

As one who is trying to live the "little way", I can certainly say it has brought me closer to God as I am beginning to see God in more aspects of my life than before.

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« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2003, 10:03:58 AM »

Bobby<<To say one way of praying is more proper over another is, in my mind, wrong.  Your disposition, your intentions, your heart and your purity make all the difference.  One prayer said faithfully is better than one hundred said surrepetiously.>>

Bobby, I think you missed the point in the last part of this thread.  No one was saying one way of praying is more proper than another, but, in prayer, we must be theologically correct or else we address a false god, a point made by paleocon.  The rest of us were merely differentiating between more formal and informal languages in prayer.  Prayer is conversation with God.  It may accompany all our acts--it should really.  And like monastics, we should seek God's blessing before beginning any work so that the work itself may be made into a prayer, the "little way" of the Little Flower.

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« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2003, 11:09:14 AM »

See the box on my Faith page on English in the liturgy. I know what the 'thou' forms are but I use the Book of Common Prayer for psalm readings and canticles. Why? It's hard to explain. I know full well from Russian, Latin and Spanish that the 'thou' forms aren't 'formal' and it's not about snobbery. 'Hieratic language'? Yes, in part. Language written in a time when everybody in Europe, even the Proestants, understood man's relation to God, taken whole cloth from the Middle Ages. Deferential language to God, the 'vouchsafes' and 'we beseech Thees' - not decoration but content.

Also, perhaps, continuity, a connection with heritage - these translations have been a part of the English language for a long time.

BTW, the Antiochians' Little Red Book is good!
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« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2003, 11:32:42 AM »

My bad,

Post edited due to... very unappetizing imagery!
--anastasios

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« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2003, 11:34:56 AM »

Quote
My bad,

Post edited due to... very unappetizing imagery!
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« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2003, 11:48:59 AM »

My bad,

Post edited due to... very unappetizing imagery!
--anastasios


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Peee-eeww, Bobby!   Shocked

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« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2003, 01:13:20 PM »

Bobby,

Gee wiz there buddy maybe you would like to not gift us with such imagery on an Orthodox forum?  Shocked

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« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2003, 12:43:49 AM »

The question was raised about who uses this kind of language; the answer is us; Orthodox Christians.  As my Godfather told me:  We look different, we dress different, we talk different, we sing different; we smell different.  
Also, Abba does not translate to 'daddy.'  Who would address their spiritual father (or God, for that matter)  as 'daddy?'   That is obscene!
We are not serving catechumens by subjecting them to Protestant/Latin/Masonic beliefs.  We are Orthodox and should behave as such.
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« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2003, 08:53:07 AM »

Well, as a catechumen (an unlearned one, at that) someone just tell me if I'm doing this right...

I use the Jordanville book for all prayer at home.
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« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2003, 10:41:49 AM »

Javamama, you're doing it right. Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2003, 03:11:00 PM »

Also, Abba does not translate to 'daddy.'  Who would address their spiritual father (or God, for that matter)  as 'daddy?'   That is obscene!

I'm sorry to differ, but every source I've ever seen says that Abba means father, but is a "familiar" term (for lack of a better word), and so could be rendered as Daddy.  If you've got sources that say otherwise, I'd like to see them, and I'm sure others would too.
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« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2003, 03:33:22 PM »

While we've been concentrating so heavily on the Prayers Before Holy Communion, it should also be remembered that there are prescribed Prayers of Thanksgiving *After* Holy Communion as well, and, in the hub-bub of our daily (and Sunday) lives, these important prayers, unless recited in common or read aloud by a Reader in your parish church following Liturgy (which is a good custom, I think), are so often neglected, shunted aside, and forgotten.

What we should *always* be doing is preparing *for* Communion and entering into thanksgiving *after* Communion.  IOW, we should live our lives as if we were always going to receive the Eucharist, going from Communion to Communion, and always giving thanks for receiving the Holy Communion, as it were.

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Faith: Greek Catholic
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« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2003, 04:48:06 PM »

Dear Hypo,

This pernickety person is wondering about your post Huh

proscribed Prayers of Thanksgiving *After* Holy Communion

Hmm - I think the word is prescribed.

The habit of proscribing prayers is not one with which I am familiar
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"Never let anyone try to tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was fully Orthodox for a thousand years; and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."
- St. John Maximovitch
Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2003, 05:59:06 PM »

Dear Hypo,

This pernickety person is wondering about your post Huh

proscribed Prayers of Thanksgiving *After* Holy Communion

Hmm - I think the word is prescribed.

The habit of proscribing prayers is not one with which I am familiar

You are 100% right, slave.  Many thanks for the correction!

Hypo-Ortho
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