I am always full of things I want to say to my flock, and there is so little time. There is so much to say about Ascension, which, together with Pascha and Pentecost, I consider to be different sides of a “three sided” coin. I hope to discuss the readings for this feast, and survey the incredible service texts. There is no doubt that the Pentecostarion is on my “desert island” list of books. It should be on yours too!
Our church reads a beautiful prayer during the Divine Liturgy on the feast of the Ascension. It commemorates a historical moment for our church, but also is one the finest expressions of pastoral zeal I have seen in a long time. It is included below.
Of course, I forgot the prayer at its appointed time, so I engaged in a little liturgical renovationism and included it during after the prayer behind the Ambo, which is said just before the end of liturgy. Maybe I will remember next year!
Prayer for the Prosperity of the Russian Orthodox Church
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, accept from us, Thine unworthy servants, these words of thanksgiving:
For Thou hast given unity to the Church of Russia and transformed into joy the greatly painful cry of Thy servants.
Hearken now to our supplication:
Bring Thine own laborers unto the harvest, that the Church may not lack good pastors to enlighten so great a multitude of those who have not been taught the Faith or have fallen away therefrom.
Instill obedience to Thee in those who govern, and justice and mercy in their judgments; compassion in the rich, and long-suffering in the weak:
That in our land the kingdom of Christ may thus grow and increase, and that Thou, O God Who art wondrous in Thy saints, may be glorified therein.
Unto those who are led astray by heresies and schisms, who have fallen away from Thee or seek Thee not, show Thyself forth as almighty, that not one of them may perish, but that all of us may be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth:
That all, in harmonious oneness of mind and constant love, may glorify Thy most honored name, O kind and patient-hearted Lord, unto the ages of ages.
On May 13, 2008, the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia adopted the Prayer for the Prosperity of the Church of Russia, to be read during Divine Liturgy on the Ascension of the Lord; and, as desired, on the feast day of All Russian Saints; the feast days of St Vladimir, St Olga and especially-venerated Russian saints. This prayer replaces the Prayer for the Salvation of Russia.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2009. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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 The “Desert Island” list: Which items would you bring if you were allowed a limited number of items, and were going to be marooned on a desert island? It is boring to think about a knife, and rope, and other survival stuff, so I have most often heard this question given in the form of: “Which 10 books would you bring to a desert island”. Of course, the Bible, and then the service books, are my first choices: the Horologion, Pentecostarion, Oktoechos, Lenten Triodion. If I could count St John Chrysostom’s commentaries as “one” book”, they would be included. The rest of the books in the list I would spend some time deciding on.