In the course of the year we read many beautiful prayers and blessings, a selection of which is set out here for the instruction and edification of our parishioners and friends. The selection will be added to from time to time.
O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, do Thou accept our fervent supplication and bless the good intent and work of Thy servants, that they may begin favourably, and may complete it unto Thy glory without any obstacle. Do Thou assist the workers and direct the work of their hands, and cause it to be brought speedily to completion by the power of Thy Most-holy Spirit, For Thine it is to be merciful and to save us, O our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thy Father Who is without beginning, and Thy Most-holy, Good and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume IV (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999), page 289
O Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour, who art hymned by the Cherubim and glorified by the Seraphim: Do Thou look down with merciful eyes upon these books of the Psalms and Divine Service, which are offered by Thy servants to the glorification of Thy Holy Name in Thy Holy Church. Bless them with Thy heavenly blessing, and sanctify them by the sprinkling of this Holy Water, and make them profitable for singing and reading unto Thy praise, and for our supplication. Do Thou Thyself, O All-good Lord, through the holy words of the hymns and reading speak unto the hearts of them that are honouring them and listening to them in these books, that, with compunction, they bring their prayers unto Thee and always glorify Thy most-holy and splendid Name, together with the Father and the Most-holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999), page 288
The Artos is a large rounded loaf of bread with symbols on it depicting or signifying the Resurrection of Christ. It symbolises the physical presence of the resurrected Christ, the Bread of Life, amongst His disciples. It is customarily blessed at Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of Pascha and broken and distributed at Divine Liturgy on either Bright Saturday or Thomas Sunday.
Prayer at the blessing of the Artos on the Holy Sunday of Pascha
O God All-powerful and Lord Almighty, Who by Thy servant Moses, at the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, and the liberation of Thy people from the bitter slavery of Pharoah, didst command that a lamb be slain, prefiguring the Lamb Who, because of our deeds, of His own will, wast slain on the Cross, and tooketh away the sins of the whole world, Thy beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: Do Thou now, also, we humbly beseech Thee, look down upon this bread, and bless and sanctify it. For we Thy servants, in honour and glory, and in commemoration of the glorious Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom, also, we have received freedom and release from the eternal slavery of the enemy and the indissoluble bonds of Hades, do now offer this before Thy majesty on this exceedingly bright, most-glorious and saving day of Pascha. And count worthy we who offer this, and they that shall kiss it and taste of it, to become partakers of Thy heavenly blessing; and by Thy might drive away from us every sickness and infirmity, grant health unto all. For Thou are the fountain of blessings, and the Bestower of healings, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father Who is without beginning, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and Thy Most-holy, Good, and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999, page 338
Prayer at the breaking of the Artos on the Saturday of Bright Week
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, the Angelic Bread, the Bread of life eternal, Who camest down from Heaven, and hast nourished us on these bright days with the spiritual food of Thy divine benefits, for the sake of Thy saving Resurrection on the third day: Do Thou look down now also, we humbly beseech Thee, upon our prayers and thanksgivings; and as Thou didst bless the five loaves in the wilderness, do Thou now bless this bread, that all who taste of it may be worthy of bodily and spiritual health and blessing, through the grace and compassion of Thy love for mankind. For Thou art our sanctification, and unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thy Father Who is without beginning, and Thy All-holy, Good, and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999, page 340
O Master, Lord our God, Who didst hear Elijah the Tishbite because of his zeal for Thee, and for a time didst command that the rain be held back from being sent to the earth, and again at his prayer didst grant it fruit-bearing rain: Do Thou Thyself, O Master of all, Who art being entreated, out of Thy deep compassion grant abundant rain unto Thine inheritance; and, overlooking our sins, do Thou send down Thy rains upon every place entreating and praying for it. Make glad the face of the earth, for the sake if Thy poor people and infants, and animals and all others, for they trust in Thee, that Thou wilt give drink unto them in due season. For Thou art our God, a God Who showeth mercy and saveth, and unto Thee do we send up glory : to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume IV (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999), page 50
O Lord Jesus Christ, Whose mercies cannot be contained and Whose bounties are ineffable; Who are wondrous in glory and Who works miracles, Who by the operation of the Holy Spirit once blessed Israel and nourished them with honey from a rock: As the same Lord, look down now from above on this Your work, and with Your heavenly blessing bless and consecrate this honeycomb and the honey that comes from it. Grant to it the action of a blessing beyond all perfection, so that all tasting of it, receiving it and eating it, may find good health, and by this nourishment be satisfied and filled with all good things. For You are He Who bestows all good things, and to You we ascribe glory, together with Your Father Who is without beginning, and Your Most-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
The Abridged Book of Needs (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon's Seminary Press)
O Lord our God, Who sittest upon the Cherubim; Who didst reaffirm the power of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that He might save the world through his Cross, Burial and Resurrection: (And when He had come to Jerusalem for His voluntary Passion, the people that sat in darkness and the shadow of death took, as emblems of the Resurrection, boughs of tress and palm branches, thus signifying the Resurrection). Do Thou Thyself, O Master, keep and preserve us also, who, following their example on this prefestal day, bear in our hands palms and branches. As Thou didst those people and children that [cried out] "Hosanna" unto Thee, save us also, that in hymns and spiritual songs we may be counted worthy to attain unto the lifegiving Resurrection on the Third Day: in Christ Jesus, our Lord, with Whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy Most-holy, Good, and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999), page 308
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Who didst bless the five loaves and didst satisfy the five thousand: Do Thou Thyself bless also these loaves, whaet, wine, and oil; and multiply them in this city and in all Thy world; and sanctify the faithful that partake of them. For it is Thou that dost bless and sanctify all things, O Christ our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thine unoriginate Father, and Thine All-holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Clergy Service Book: The All-Night Vigil (Rassaphore-Monk Laurence, 2002), page 138
Grapes and other fruit are customarily blessed on 19 August (6 August on the Julian Calendar), the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. In a number of parishes of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia fruit is now also blessed on 15 February (2 February on the Julian Calendar), the Great Feast of the Meeting of the Lord. This latter practice reflects life in the southern hemisphere, where February rather than August is late in the summer and so peak grape season.
Prayer at the partaking of grapes on the sixth day of August
Bless, O Lord, this new fruit of the vine, which, through temperate weather, through showers of rain and times of calm, has attained to ripeness at this hour, according to Thy good pleasure. May our partaking of this birth of the vine be for gladness, and for the offering of a gift unto Thee for the cleansing of sins, through the sacred and holy Body of Thy Christ, with whom thou art blessed, together with thy most holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer for those who offer first fruits
O Master, Lord our God, who commandest everyone to offer to Thee thine own of thine own, according to their intention, granting them in return thine eternal good things, and who didst favourably accept the offering of the widow which was according to her ability: now also accept these things offered by Thy servants [here present], counting them worthy to lay up the same in thine eternal treasury. And grant them an abundant harvest of thine eternal good things, together with all things that are profitable unto them. For blessed is Thy Name, and glorified is Thy kingdom: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
A Small Book of Needs (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon's Seminary Press, 2002), pages 143-144
The ambo (or "amvon", in Russian) is the platform space immediately before the Royal Doors where the clergy stand to recite the litanies, read the Gospel, and give sermons. This is the final prayer of the Divine Liturgy, offered by the priest in the midst of the faithful. In the Russian Orthodox tradition it is common for blessings and short services of intercession to be offered following this prayer.
O Lord Who dost bless them that bless Thee and sanctify them that put their trust in Thee: Save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance; preserve the fullness of Thy Church, sanctify them that love the beauty of Thy house; do Thou glorify them by Thy divine power, and forsake us not that hope in Thee. Give peace to Thy world, to Thy churches, to the priests, and to all Thy people. For every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from thee, the Father of lights, and unto Thee do we send up glory and thanksgiving and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Service Book: The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (Rassaphore-Monk Laurence, 1999), pages 126-127
The Mother of God, through her Icon of the Unburnt Bush, is regarded as the protector of homes from fire.
O most holy and most blessed Mother of our sweetest Lord, Jesus Christ! We approach and bow down in worship to thee before thy most precious Icon, through which thou hast worked wonderful and most glorious miracles; as thou savest our dwellings from burning by fire and the lightning-strikes of thunder, thou healest our infirmities and thou fulfillest all our entreaties in Goodness. So, we supplicate thee humbly, O all-powerful Advocate of our race; vouchsafe us feeble and sinful ones thy Maternal partiality and concern for good. Save and protect, O Mistress, beneath the shelter of thy mercy our Orthodox people, the holy Church, [November 2019: the Mid North Coast of New South Wales and many other places in this land where cruel fires are burning], all of our Orthodox lands, and all of us who come, falling down before thee in faith and love, compunctionately beseeching thine intercession with tears. Yea, O most merciful Lady, take pity on us who are tempest-tossed with many sins and so possess no boldness before Christ the Lord; entreat Him for kindness and forgiveness; for so do we place thee before Him for supplication, who art His Mother in the flesh. So, may thou, O most Gracious One, stretch out before Him thy God-receiving arms and be champion for us before His graciousness; beseeching pardon for our transgressions, a peaceful life of piety, a Christian end in Goodness and a good response at His dread Judgment. At the hour of God’s fearsome visitation, when our homes shall be consumed by fire or we shall be frightened by the lightning-strikes of thunder, be thou manifest to us in thy merciful defense and sovereign assistance; that being saved by thine all-powerful prayers to the Lord, we can escape God’s temporal condemnation here and take pasture there in the eternal blessedness of Paradise; and with all the Saints we shall sing of the most precious and majestic Name of the Worshipful Trinity: of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; and of thy great kind-heartedness for us; now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Source: https://www.dowoca.org/files/music/akathist_socal_1007.pdf. Accessed 10 November 2019.
O God Almighty and generous Bestower of good things, Who abundantly pourest out all blessings, we fervently entreat Thee and pray Thee: Do Thou pour out riches of Thy blessings upon us, and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be pleased to bless and sanctify these vestments fashioned for Thy honour, and mercifully grant the grace of sanctifying Thy Holy Services unto all them that shall wear them, that they may appear before Thy presence holy, undefiled and innocent, and may be found worthy of Thy merciful assistance. For Thou art the King of peace and the Saviour of our souls, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Great Book of Needs, Volume II (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999), page 284
O Master, Lord Almighty, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who willest that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth; who desirest not the death of a sinner, but that he should turn from his way and live: we pray Thee and supplicate Thee: loose the soul of Thy servant [name] from every bond, and free him from every curse; forgive him all his iniquities from his youth up, whether known or unknown, whether of word or deed, which he has confessed sincerely, or which, from forgetfulness or shame, he has hidden. For Thou dost loose those who are bound and set aright those crushed down, Thou Hope of those without hope, Who canst remit the sins of every one who trusts in Thee. Yea, O Lord Who lovest mankind, give command that he be set free from fleshly and sinful bonds, and receive in peace the soul of this Thy servant [name], giving him rest in the eternal mansions with Thy saints, by the grace of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ with whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy most holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
A Small Book of Needs (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: St Tikhon's Seminary Press, 2012), page 73