By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafapaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
Source: Ekklesiastiki Paremvasi, in Greek: "Προσευχὴ γιὰ τὴν Ἐκκλησία καὶ τοὺς Κληρικούς., November 1997.
We live in a time in which much is said and written about the Church, the Bishops and the Clergy in general. We forget, however, to do something better, which is to pray for the Church, especially for the Bishops. This is because, unfortunately, we are influenced by a secular spirit and we think that all issues are solved only with protest and anthropocentric actions.
I remember a certain pious lady who everyday would pray for the Patriarchs, Bishops, Priests, Monks and Missionaries that God would strengthen them in their work and mission. Indeed, those who work in the Lord's vineyard have much need, some to be strengthened in their struggles, others to endure slanders and persecutions, others to bring to repentance and shepherd their flock, in accordance with ecclesiastical tradition, etc.
Lastly, someone sent me a prayer drafted by the late Archimandrite Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos for all Christians, especially for the Church and the Shepherds. We include it below and ask all our readers to pray with the words of this prayer for the peace of the Church and the benefit of the Clergy.
Thanksgiving and Supplication Prayer for the Church and Clergy
By Archimandrite Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos
Lord our God, the great and awesome and glorious, Who keeps His mercy and His covenant with those who love You and keep Your commandments, we thank You for all Your apparent and non-apparent benefactions You have bestowed upon us. We pray to You, Lord, to deliver us and redeem us, for many times we have unwisely trespassed Your laws and our appetites have been attached to the material earth. We were born as if lost vessels, and have heard the faults of those who dwell round about. Hence we supplicate to You, philanthropic Master, raise up the army of Orthodox Christians and send down upon us Your great mercy. Do not betray, Only Begotten Word of God, Your Church that You have purchased with Your Honorable Blood, to be thrashed by the winds and tossed by the waves. Say, Lord, to this riotous sea of the world's passions: "Silent, be quiet!", rebuking the winds and making them calm, that calmly and without disturbance Your divine Ship may go about the sea. Give also, loving-compassionate Lord, to Your holy Bishops and Priests whom Your Most Holy Spirit has given to shepherd Your militant Church on earth, the grace of prudence to consider and do what is pleasing to You and what is beneficial to Your secret Body. Therefore, Jesus Christ, govern and teach and illumine them who are among temporary things with the love for Your incorruptible glory, those who are bound by the earthly that their Bishops and Parishes will discern Your incorruptible Kingdom, prepared for those who love You, from the attacks of the world. Grant unto them, Lord, that in affectionate love they will incite Your honorable people, and always be ready to have their heads cut off on behalf of their flock, according to Your example. Make them despise money and glory and to be lovers of the poor, with their minds raised towards Heaven. And we pray to you, Lord, to enlighten their eyes, to give them understanding, to humble their hearts, to make their eyes pure and turn them from looking towards the material and vain. Grant us all a prosperous journey to finish the path which is narrow and straight, so that in the Heavenly Chambers we will rest in Your glory, and with Your Angels and Archangels we will sing a new and all-cheerful song to You our Master and Holy Redeemer, with Your Father Who is without beginning and Your Life-giving Spirit, now and forever and unto the unending ages. Amen.