Pushing an Oriental Orthodox resource to broaden one's perspective

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Dec 7 2021 5:44 PM

Prayers from the East: Traditions of Eastern Christianity - Verbum okay it is actually Oriental Orthodoxy but ... yes, purchasing resources relating to the Oriental Church -- the largest thread of Christianity in the early Church -- will encourage Faithlife to carry more. And perhaps you could nudge the priority of this request up a bit? A collection of works translated by Budge | Faithlife 

Faithlife blurb:
This rich anthology offers new insight into an ancient form of Christianity still little understood in the West. The essays introduce the six ancient and Oriental Orthodox churches—Egyptian Copts, Armenians, Syrians, Indian Malankara, Ethiopian, and Eritrean—through their distinctive tradition of prayer and worship. This volume provides both a survey of the history and theology of these Eastern Orthodox traditions as well as an anthology of their personal prayers, blessings, and liturgical prayers. The collection highlights the distinctiveness of Eastern Christian spirituality along with its connections to Western theology and worship.

Armenian sample:
Armenian Prayer of Guidance


Guide us, O Lord our God,
and teach us to walk in thy paths of righteousness.
Keep our lives in peace, and our ways pleasing in thy sight.
Guide thy servants on their earthly and heavenly course
along thy paths of purity unto thine only-begotten Son,
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who became our Prince of life and the hope of our salvation,
with whom thou art blessed, O Father Almighty,
together with thy life-giving and liberating Holy Spirit,
now and for ever, world without end. X Amen.

Some prayers require little more commentary than to note that they have an exquisite structure. This is one of them—a beautifully balanced prayer of simple devotion and elegant phrasing.


Richard Marsh, ed., Prayers from the East: Traditions of Eastern Christianity (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2004), 9.

Coptic sample:
Coptic Intercession


Priest Pray for the air of heaven, the fruits of the earth,
the rising of the waters of the rivers,
the seeds, the herbs, and the plants of the field;
that Christ our God may bless them,
bring them to perfection in peace without harm,
and forgive us our sins.

People Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord, have mercy.


Priest Raise them to their measure according to your grace.
Give joy to the face of the earth.
May its furrows be abundantly watered
and its fruits be plentiful.
Prepare it for sowing and harvesting.
Manage our life as deemed fit.
Bless the crown of the year with your goodness,
for the sake of the poor of your people,
the widow, the orphan, the traveller, the stranger,
and for the sake of us all, who entreat you
and seek your holy name.
For the eyes of everyone wait upon you,
for you give them their food in due season.
Deal with us according to your goodness,
O you who give food to all flesh.

Fill our hearts with joy and gladness,
that we too, having sufficiency in everything always,
may abound in every good deed.

People Lord have mercy.

This is another prayer which seems to have sprung directly from the life of the worshippers. We can almost see the Nile in drought or spate. All the best intercession, which is a co-operation with God in his work of creation, has an acute sense of person or place. Intercession of this kind always has an intimate relationship with the moment of offertory. We may bring bread and wine to the altar but we also bring the real concerns, hopes and fears of the people of God. In Canterbury, we place prayer slips left by our visitors on the altar as we celebrate the Eucharist. There is a sense in which these are entrusted to our safekeeping, and, as a worshipping community, our task is to make them a part of our daily offering.
Canterbury is a very long way from Egypt in all sorts of ways but I am struck by the way that this intercession is close to Scripture and to life and all its concerns. The opening paragraphs reflect the needs and concerns of a predominately agricultural community, but with such an authenticity that we can imagine incorporating such petitions into our own prayers. And, finally, having shared our own needs and fears and those of our communities, we end in a petition of praise—the heart of all praying.


Richard Marsh, ed., Prayers from the East: Traditions of Eastern Christianity (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2004), 52–53.

St Thomas Christians (India):
Indian Orthodox Prayers for the Morning


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

And on us weak and sinful servants
be mercy and compassion in both worlds,
for ever and ever. X Amen.

Creator of the morning,
you who drive out the darkness
and bring light and joy to the creation,
create in us habits of virtue
and drive away from us all the darkness of sin.
With the light, give us joy
by the glorious rays of your grace,
Lord our God, for ever. X Amen.

Indian Orthodox Christians begin their morning office with this doxology and opening prayer. There are strong echoes of the Syrian Orthodox tradition of prayer underlying much of Indian Orthodox worship. Notice how there is a particular ‘register’ of language—this is not the sort of language that we might use in day-to-day speech. The idea of God as Creator, and creation symbolized in the gift of light, both at the beginning of the world and every day, is striking. Also striking is the addition to the opening doxology through which the divine awesomeness of God is contrasted with the sinfulness and unworthiness of humanity. But this is not a contrast without hope. On the contrary, the Christian is aware of living both in this world and in God’s reality. The two intersect, challenging and demanding much.
The gift of morning light returns our minds and hearts to God who has made, and is making, what we are and what we shall be in his time.


Richard Marsh, ed., Prayers from the East: Traditions of Eastern Christianity (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2004), 96.

Syrian Orthodox:
Syrian Prayers for the Morning


God help us.
The stormy winds and waves of sins that we committed are encircling us.
May you be the port of peace for us, that we may not sink in the sea of sins.
We are waiting to repent.
As you extended your hand to Peter, extend your hand to us and help us.

O Christ, our Lord,
you offered yourself as a pleasing incense before God the Father.
Because of you, we may be a pleasing incense before God.
Though our prayers and offerings are abominable and foul smelling,
touch and purify us with your holy hand which cleansed the lepers
to make our prayers and offerings sweet smelling fragrances.
Barekhmor [Bless my Lord].


Richard Marsh, ed., Prayers from the East: Traditions of Eastern Christianity (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2004), 136.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 8 2021 2:02 AM

Your post tempted me Martha but it seems I live too far East for these prayers to be made available.  :-(

tootle pip

Mike

How to get logs and post them. (now tagging post-apocalyptic fiction as current affairs)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 8 2021 2:45 AM

DRATS

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Nick Steffen | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 8 2021 5:25 AM

Thanks, MJ!

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HJ. van der Wal | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 8 2021 5:38 AM

Mike Binks:

Your post tempted me Martha but it seems I live too far East for these prayers to be made available.  :-(

I would already have bought this resource if Fortress Press would only let me. :-(

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 8 2021 8:07 AM

HJ. van der Wal:

Mike Binks:

Your post tempted me Martha but it seems I live too far East for these prayers to be made available.  :-(

I would already have bought this resource if Fortress Press would only let me. :-(

Same here - Mike found a nice way to phrase it but it's :-(

Running Logos 9 latest (beta) version on Win 10

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