Prayerful Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Terrorist attacks of 9-11 (2001)

Prayerful Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Terrorist attacks of 9-11 (2001)

Message from the Chancery of the Primate of the Russian Church Abroad[1]

Brother Archpastors, Reverend Fathers, Brothers and Sisters:

We hereby bring to the attention of the archpastors and clergymen of our dioceses that the feast day of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, which this year falls on a Sunday, is also the tenth anniversary of the terrorist acts in the United States, which tore away from this vale of tears thousands of peaceful citizens.

On this day, blessing is given to raise the following petitions during Divine Liturgy, and during a litya for the dead, which should follow Divine Liturgy[3], to prayerfully remember all the victims of this terrible act of wickedness, preceding it with words of edification.  

(Note – Names of known Orthodox Victims are available – see footnote[4])

May our fervent prayers to God warm our hearts! May it warm and console both those who died, and those who survived!  

With love in the Lord and a request for your prayers, 
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,  
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia


During the litany of peace:

That there may be kindled in us the fervent love of God and our neighbor by the grace of His Most-holy Spirit, and thus burn out to the very roots the passions of all our souls and bodies, let us pray to the Lord.

That there may be uprooted in us hatred, envy and jealousy and all other passions which destroy brotherly love, and that there may be planted unfeigned love, fervently let us pray to the Lord. 

During the augmented litany:

O Lord our God, as Thou art good, mercifully regard the ground of our heart, the love whereof hath dried up, and which hath been rendered grievously barren by the thorns of hatred, self-love and countless transgressions; and letting a drop of the grace of Thine all-holy Spirit fall, do Thou richly irrigate it, that it may be fruitful and, out of ardent love for Thee, bring forth the root of all the virtues—the fear of Thee, constant care for the salvation of our neighbor, and the uprooting of hypocrisy, divers evils, and all the passions.  We earnestly entreat Thee, as the Benefactor of all: hearken swiftly and, in that Thou lovest mankind, have mercy.

O Master, Who gavest Thy disciples the new commandment to love one another, actively renew this within our souls through the grace of Thine all-holy Spirit, that we may in nowise take care for our own benefit, but ever for that which is pleasing unto Thee and for the salvation and good of our neighbor.  We pray Thee, O merciful Benefactor, hearken and mercifully have mercy.

Thus do Thou cause Thy love to dwell within us, through the grace of Thine all-holy Spirit, O most compassionate Lord, that, in accordance with Thy commandment, we may truly love not only our brethren and friends, but also our enemies, may do good to those who hate us, and may earnestly strive for their salvation.  We pray Thee, O Source of goodness and Abyss of love for mankind: hearken swiftly and, as Thou art compassionate, have mercy.

O our God, move us, through the grace of Thy Spirit, to have unfeigned love for our neighbor, that we may be made perfect in Thy Love, O Master.  For he who thinketh that he hath love for Thee, yet hateth his brother, is a liar, and walketh in darkness.  Wherefore, O Merciful One, enkindle our souls and hearts with love for Thee and our brethren.  We pray Thee, in that Thou art merciful: hearken swiftly and, as Thou art compassionate, have mercy. 

Translated from the Church Slavonic by the reader Isaac E. Lambertsen, from The Supplemental Euchologion (=Vol, III) (Jordanville, NY: St. Job of Pochaev Press, 1961), pp. 306b-313a.  Copyright © 1980.  All rights reserved by the translator.


Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

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[2] This heading is not in the original. Other small edits have been made, such as increasing the number of paragraphs, but no words have been changed except as noted in  Footnote 3.

Note from Priest Seraphim: Prayers like this brought me to Orthodoxy. This is how Orthodox Christians commemorate important events, with sober, humble, and theologically rich prayer. An aspect that particularly attracted me was how in our prayer we “blame” ourselves. For instance, the terrorist events remind us of our condition, and we do not focus on the sins of strangers who committed these acts. To me this is just telling the truth about ourselves, and reaching out to God with no pretences, much like in the Psalter. We are never far from talking about the human condition (a condition, which always fascinates,  thrills and saddens me, all at the same time), and how the incarnation, the Holy Spirit, and all aspects of God’s grace and reaching out to man heals human nature so it can be united to God. Our prayer, if experienced in all of its scope, shows clearly that we know salvation is the perfection and elevation of the human soul to God, and not only forgiveness of sins. I did not experience these feelings in the public prayer when I was not Orthodox (although I did feel it in a germinal form when I read the Psalter). The mindset in our prayers truly led me to Orthodoxy. It feels very freeing to say out loud what is wrong with me (in our prayers), and at the same time, approach God with confidence and hope. I suppose that someone reading this may be experiencing the feelings I once had, and if so, I encourage you to investigate Orthodoxy. You can read books, and learn our theology, but I think you will really find rest when you experience our prayer. Come to many services, especially our Vespers and Matins services, and give it some time, because our manner and content of prayer is very different from what is normally seen in the West.   


[3] The original English translation was “a commemorative litany that should follow”, which was replaced with “a litya for the dead, which should follow Divine Liturgy” since Deacon Nicholas stated that the Russian stated basically this.

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