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Prayers in Preparation for Holy Communion

 

“Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself not discerning the Lord’s body” (Cor. 11:28-29)


O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy most pure Mother and of all the saints, have mercy on us.  Amen.

Note: When the Prayers in Preparation for Holy Communion are said immediately after Morning Prayers, we begin with:

“Come, let us worship God our King”... (See below)

During the normal seasons we begin:

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life: Come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

 Note: From Bright Monday through the Leavetaking of Pascha, after the initial “Amen”, we immediately say:

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. (thrice)

 Then continue with “Holy God, Holy Mighty ... ”

Also note that the prayer “O Heavenly King...” is not read until Pentecost. From the Leavetaking of Pascha until the Sunday of Pentecost, you begin with “Holy God.... ”

 

 Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal: have mercy on us. (thrice)

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal: have mercy on us. (thrice)

 Glory... Now and ever... Amen.

 O most holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our transgressions. Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name’s sake.

 Lord, have mercy. (thrice)

 Glory... Now and ever... Amen.

 Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

 Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.

 Amen.

 Lord, have mercy. (12 times)

 Glory... Now and ever... Amen.

Note: When the Prayers in Preparation for Holy Communion are said immediately after Morning Prayers, we begin here.

 Come, let us worship God our King. Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God. Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and our God. 

(with three bows)

 Psalm 22

 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

 He leadeth me beside the still waters.

 He restoreth my soul:

 He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

 I will fear no evil for Thou art with me;

 Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;

 Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runs over.

 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

 And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23

 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,

 The world and all those who dwell therein.

 He has founded it upon the seas,

 And prepared it upon the rivers.

 Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord,

 And who shall stand in His Holy Place?

 He that has clean hands and a pure heart,

 Who has not set his mind on vanity nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbor.

 He shall receive a blessing from the Lord,

 And mercy from God his Savior.

 Such is the generation of those who seek the Lord,

 That seek the face of the God of Jacob.

 Lift up your gates, O ye princes.

 And be lifted up, ye everlasting doors,

 That the King of glory may enter in.

 Who is this King of glory?

 The Lord, strong and mighty;

 The Lord, mighty in battle.

 Lift up your gates, O ye princes.

 And be lifted up, ye everlasting doors,

 That the King of glory may enter in.

 Who is this King of glory?

 The Lord of hosts.

 He is the King of glory.

 Psalm 115

 I kept my faith even when I said:

 I am greatly afflicted,

 And when in my madness I cried:

 Every man is a liar.

 What shall I render to the Lord for all His bounty to me?

 I will receive the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

 I will offer my prayers to the Lord in the presence of all His people.

 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

 O Lord, I am Thy servant; I am Thy slave and son of Thy handmaiden.

 Thou hast broken my bonds asunder.

 I will offer Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving,

 And call on the Name of the Lord.

 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people,

 In the courts of the house of the Lord, in thy midst, O Jerusalem.

Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Now and ever and unto the ages of ages.

Amen.

 Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. Glory to Thee, O God. (thrice)

 Lord, have mercy. (thrice)

Troparia (omit on Holy Thursday)

Disregard mine iniquities, O Lord, Who was born of a Virgin, and cleanse my heart, and make it a temple for Thy most pure Body and Blood. Turn me not away from Thy countenance, for wonderful is Thine infinite great mercy.

 Glory...

 How can I dare to partake of Thy Holy Things in mine unworthiness? For even if I should dare to approach Thee with those who are worthy, my garment will betray me, for it is not a wedding garment, and I shall secure the condemnation of my sinful soul. Cleanse, O Lord, the pollution from my soul, and save me for Thou lovest mankind.

 Now and ever... Amen.

 Theotokion (omit on Holy Thursday)

 Exceedingly great, O Theotokos, is the multitude of my transgressions. I have fled to thee, O pure one, asking for salvation. Visit my feeble soul and pray to thy Son and our God, that He will grant me remission of the terrible deeds which I have done, O only blessèd one.

On Great and Holy Thursday the following is read:

 When the glorious disciples were enlightened at the washing of their feet before the Supper, then impious Judas was darkened, ailing with avarice, and to the lawless judges doth he betray Thee, the Righteous Judge.

Behold, O lover of money, through which this man hanged himself.

Flee from the greedy soul which dared such things against the Master, our God. O Lord, Who art good above all men, glory to Thee.

 If the Canon of Preparation for Holy Communion has not been read the preceding evening, it may be read here.

 Lord, have mercy. (40 times, with prostrations as desired.)

 Then, begin the following prayers by first reading this verse of Instruction:

 When thou dost intend, O man, to eat the Master’s Body, approach with fear, lest thou be burned, for it is fire. Before drinking the divine Blood in communion, make peace with those who have grieved thee. Only then mayest thou dare to eat the mystical food.

 We also add the following verse:

 Before partaking of the dread Sacrifice, the life-giving Body of the Master, pray with trembling, in this manner:

First Prayer by St. Basil The Great

O Lord and Master, Jesus Christ our God, the Fountain of life and immortality, the Creator of everything visible and invisible, the eternal and everlasting Son of the eternal Father, Thou hast come in these latter days because of the abundance of Thy goodness. Thou hast put on our human flesh and wast crucified and buried for us thankless and graceless men, and through Thine Own Blood Thou hast renewed our human nature which is corrupted by sin. And now, O Immortal King, accept the repentance of me a sinner, and incline Thine ear to me and listen to my words:

I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned before heaven and before Thy face, and I am not worthy to look upon the height of Thy glory. I have provoked Thy goodness, I have transgressed Thy commandments, I have not obeyed Thy statutes.

But, O Lord, since Thou dost not remember evil, but art long-suffering and of great mercy, Thou hast not given me over to destruction for my lawlessness, but hast ever awaited my conversion.

O Lover of mankind, Thou hast said by Thy Prophets; “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”

For Thou dost not wish, O Master, that the work of Thy hands should perish, neither dost Thou take pleasure in the destruction of men, but Thou desirest that all men should be saved and come to a knowledge of the trut

Therefore, although I am unworthy both of heaven and of earth and of this passing life, having wholly yielded myself to sin and defiled Thine image, yet being Thy creature and of Thy making, I do not despair of my salvation in my wickedness. But made bold by Thine infinite compassion, I draw near.

Receive me, O Christ, Who lovest mankind, as Thou didst receive the prostitute, the thief, the tax-collector and the prodigal. Take away the heavy burden of my sins, for Thou takest away the sins of the world, Thou healest the infirmities of mankind, Thou callest to Thyself and givest rest to those who labor and are heavy laden.

Thou hast not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Cleanse me from every stain of flesh and spirit. Teach me to fulfill holiness in fear of Thee, that having the testimony of mine own conscience clean, and having communion of Thy Holy Things, I may be united with Thy Body and Blood and may have Thee to dwell and abide in me, with the Father and Thy Holy Spirit.

O Lord Jesus Christ my God, may the communion of Thy most pure and life-creating Mysteries not bring me into judgment, nor may I become weak in soul and body by partaking in an unworthy manner, but grant me to receive communion of Thy Holy Things without condemnation even to my very last breath, and by them to receive communion of the Holy Spirit, provision for the journey of eternal life, and an acceptable answer at Thy dread judgment seat; that I, together with all Thy chosen ones, may also be a partaker of the incorruptible blessing which Thou hast prepared for those who love Thee, O Lord, in whom Thou art glorified forever. Amen.

Second Prayer by St. John Chrysostom

O Lord my God, I know that I am not worthy nor sufficiently pleasing that Thou shouldst come under the roof of the house of my soul, for it is entirely desolate and fallen in ruin, and Thou wilt not find in me a place worthy to lay Thy head. But as Thou didst humble Thyself from on high for our sake, so now humble Thyself to my lowliness.

As Thou didst deign to lie in a cavern, in a manger of dumb beasts, so now deign to enter into the manger of my beastly soul, and into my soiled body.

As Thou didst not disdain to enter and to eat with sinners in the house of Simon the leper, so now be pleased to enter into the house of my soul, humble and leprous and sinful.

As Thou didst not cast out the prostitute, the sinful woman who came to touch Thee, so have compassion on me a sinner who comes to touch Thee.

As Thou didst not abhor the kiss of her sin-stained and unclean mouth, do not abhor my mouth, worse stained and more unclean than hers, nor my stained and shamed and unclean lips, nor my still more impure tongue.

But let the fiery coal of Thy most pure Body and Thy most precious Blood bring me sanctification, enlightenment, and strengthening of my lowly soul and body, relief from the burden of my many transgression, protection against every action of the devil, repulsion and victory over my wicked and evil habits, mortification of my passions, accomplishment of Thy commandments, increase of Thy divine grace, and inheritance of Thy Kingdom.

For I do not come to Thee in presumption, O Christ my God, but made bold by Thine inexpressible goodness, lest I stray far away from Thy flock, O Master, and become caught by the wolf of souls.

Therefore, I pray Thee, O Master, for Thou alone art Holy: sanctify my soul and body, my mind and heart, my muscles and bones. Renew me entirely. Implant Thy fear in my fleshly members and let Thy sanctification never be removed from me.

Be my helper and defender, guide my life in peace and make me worthy to stand at Thy right hand with all Thy saints.

By the prayers and supplication of Thy most pure Mother, of Thy spiritual servants, the most pure angelic powers, and of all the saints who have been well-pleasing to Thee. Amen.

Third Prayer by St. Symeon Metaphrastes

O only Pure and Incorruptible Lord, because of the unspeakable mercy of Thy love for mankind, Thou didst take to Thyself our entire human composition from the pure blood of the Virgin who gave birth to Thee beyond nature, by the descent of the Holy Spirit and the goodwill of the Ever-existing Father.

O Christ Jesus, Wisdom and Peace and Power of God, through the human nature which Thou didst take to Thyself, Thou didst suffer the life-creating and saving Passion: the cross, the nails, the spear — death itself. Put to death in me the soul-destroying passions of the body.

Through Thy burial, Thou didst capture the kingdom of death. Bury in me the evil devices of the devil with good thoughts, and destroy the spirits of evil.

Through Thy life-bringing Resurrection, Thou didst raise up the first father who had fallen. Raise me up who am sunk down in sin and give me the image of repentance.

Through Thy glorious Ascension, Thou didst deify the flesh which Thou didst assume to be divine, and placed it on the throne at the Father’s right hand. Grant me to receive a place at the right hand with the saved through communion of Thy holy Mysteries.

Through the coming of Thy Spirit, the Comforter, Thou didst make Thy consecrated disciples to be honorable vessels. Show me also to be the receptacle of His coming.

Thou hast promised to come again to judge the world in righteousness. Grant that I may go to meet Thee in the clouds, my Judge and Creator, with all Thy saints, that I may glorify and praise Thee without end, together with Thy Father, Who is without beginning, and Thy Most-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Fourth Prayer by St. John Damascus

O Lord and Master Jesus Christ our God, Who alone hast power to absolve men from their sins, for Thou art good and lovest mankind, forgive all my transgressions done in knowledge or in ignorance, and make me worthy without condemnation to have communion of Thy divine and glorious and pure and life-creating Mysteries. Let them not be for my punishment, or for the increase of my sins. But let them be for my purification and sanctification, as a promise of the life and Kingdom to come, a defense and a help and a repulsion of every attacker and the removal of my many transgressions. For Thou art a God of mercy and generosity and love for mankind, and unto Thee we send up glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

 

 Fifth Prayer, Also by St. Basil The Great

I know, O Lord, that I have communion unworthily of Thy most pure Body and Thy most precious Blood, and that I am guilty and drink condemnation to myself not discerning Thy Body and Blood, O my Christ and God. But daring upon Thy generous loving-kindness I come to Thee Who hast said: “He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him.” Be merciful, therefore, O Lord, and do not rebuke me, a sinner, but deal with me according to Thy mercy, and let Thy Holy Things be for my purification and healing, for enlightenment and protection, for the repulsion of every tempting thought and action of the devil which works spiritually in my fleshly members. Let them be for boldness and love for Thee, for the correction and grounding of my life, for the increase of virtue and perfection, for the fulfillment of Thy commandments, for the communion of the Holy Spirit, for the journey of eternal life, for a good and acceptable answer at Thy dread judgment, but not for judgment or condemnation. Amen.

Sixth Prayer

by St. Symeon the New Theologian

From sullied lips, from an impure heart, from an unclean tongue, out of a polluted soul, receive my prayer, O my Christ.

Reject me not, nor my words, nor my ways, nor even my shamelessness, but give me courage to say what I desire, O Christ.

And even more, teach me what to do and say.

I have sinned more than the harlot who, on learning where Thou wast lodging, bought oil of myrrh, and dared to come and anoint  Thy feet, my Christ, My Lord and my God.

As Thou didst not turn her away when she drew near from her heart, neither, O Word, repel Thou me, but, rather, grant me to clasp and kiss Thy feet, and with a flood of tears as with most precious myrrh dare to anoint them.

 Wash me with my tears and purify me with them, O Word.

Forgive my sins and grant me pardon.

Thou knowest the multitude of mine evil-doings,  Thou knowest also my wounds, and Thou seest my bruises.

But also Thou knowest my faith, and Thou beholdest my willingness, and Thou hearest my sighs.

Nothing escapes Thee, my God, my Maker, my Redeemer, not even a single drop of tears, nor part of a teardrop.

Thine eyes know, what I have not achieved, and in Thy book, things not yet done are written by Thee.

Sixth Prayer (continued)

See my humility, see how great is my trouble, and all my sins.

Take from me, O God of all, that with a clean heart, trembling mind, and contrite spirit I may partake of Thy pure and all-holy mysteries by which all who eat and drink of Thee with sincerity of heart are quickened and deified.

For Thou, my Lord, hast said: “Whosoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in Him.”

Wholly true is the word of my Lord and God.

For whosoever partakes of Thy divine and deifying Gifts certainly is not alone, but is with Thee, my Christ, Light of the Triune Sun which illumines the world.

And that I may not  remain alone without Thee, the Giver of Life, My Breath, My Life, My Joy, the Salvation of the world, therefore I have drawn near to Thee as Thou seest, with tears and with a contrite spirit.

Ransom of mine offenses, I beseech Thee: Receive me, that I may partake without  condemnation of Thy life-giving and perfect mysteries, that Thou mayest remain as Thou hast said with me, thrice-wretched as I am, lest the tempter find me Without Thy grace and craftily seize me, and having deceived me, seduce me, from Thy deifying words.

Therefore I fall at Thy feet and fervently cry to Thee: As Thou didst receive the prodigal and the harlot who drew near to Thee, so have compassion and receive me, the profligate and prodigal, as with contrite spirit I now draw near to Thee.

 

 

Sixth Prayer (continued)

I know, O Savior, that no other has sinned against Thee as I, nor has done the deeds that I have committed.

But this again I know that neither the greatness of mine offenses nor the multitude of my sins surpasses the great patience of my God, and His extreme love for mankind.

But with the oil of compassion those who fervently repent Thou dost purify and enlighten and makest them children of the light, sharers of Thy divine Nature.

And Thou dost act most generously, for what is strange to angels and to the minds of men often Thou tellest to them as to Thy true friends.

These things make me bold, my Christ, these things give me wings, and I take courage from the wealth of Thy goodness to us.

And rejoicing and trembling at once, I who am straw partake of fire, and, strange wonder.

I am ineffably sprinkled with dew, like the bush of old which burned without being consumed.

Therefore with thankful mind, and with thankful heart, and with thankfulness in all the members of my soul and body, I worship and magnify and glorify Thee, my God.

For blessed art Thou, now and throughout the ages.

 Amen.

 

 Seventh Prayer, Also by St. John Chrysostom

 O God, absolve, remit and pardon me my transgressions, as many sins as I have committed by word or action or thought, willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously; forgive me everything since Thou art good and the lover of men. And by the prayers of Thy most pure Mother, of Thy spiritual servants, the holy angelic powers and all the saints, who from all ages have been well-pleasing to Thee, be pleased to allow me to receive Thy most pure Body and Thy most precious Blood for the healing of my soul and body, and the purification of mine evil thoughts. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

 

 Eighth Prayer, Also by St. John Chrysostom

 I am not worthy, Master and Lord, that Thou shouldst enter under the roof of my soul; yet inasmuch as Thou desirest to live in me as the Lover of men, I approach with boldness. Thou hast commanded: Let the doors be opened which Thou alone hast made and Thou shalt enter with Thy love for mankind just as Thou art. Thou shalt enter and enlighten my darkened reasoning. I believe that Thou wilt do this. For Thou didst not cast away the prostitute who came to Thee with tears, neither didst Thou turn away the tax-collector who repented, nor didst Thou reject the thief who acknowledged Thy kingdom, nor didst Thou forsake the repentant persecutor, the Apostle Paul, even as he was. But all who came to Thee in repentance Thou didst unite to the ranks of Thy friends, Who alone art blessèd forever, and unto the endless ages. Amen.

 

 

Ninth Prayer, Also by St. John Chrysostom

 O Lord Jesus Christ my God, absolve, loose, cleanse and forgive me Thy sinful and useless and unworthy servant mine errors, transgressions and sinful failings as many as I have committed from my youth up to this present day and hour, consciously and unconsciously, in words or actions or reasonings, thoughts, pursuits and in all my senses. By the prayers of Thy Mother the most pure and Ever-Virgin Mary who gave birth to Thee without human seed, mine only hope which will not put me to shame, mine intercessor and salvation, grant me to have communion without condemnation of Thy most pure, immortal, life-creating and awesome Mysteries; for the remission of sins and unto life everlasting; for sanctification, enlightenment, strength, healing and health of soul and body; for the most perfect removal and destruction of mine evil thoughts and reasonings and intentions, fantasies by night, brought by dark and evil spirits; For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory and the honor and the worship with the Father and Thy Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

 

 Tenth Prayer, Also by St. John of Damascus

 I stand before the doors of Thy temple, and I do not forsake my wicked thoughts. But, O Christ my God, as Thou hast justified the tax-collector, and hast had mercy on the woman of Canaan and hast opened the gates of paradise to the thief, open to me the interior depths of Thy love for mankind and receive me as I come and repent before Thee. Receive me as Thou didst receive the sinful woman and the woman with the flow of blood. For the first embraced Thy most pure feet and received the forgiveness of her sins, and the second just touched the hem of Thy garment and received healing. But I who am lost, daring to receive Thy whole Body, may I not be burned; but receive me as Thou hast received them, and enlighten my spiritual senses, burning up my sinful faults by the prayers of her who gave birth to Thee without human seed, and of the heavenly angelic powers, for blessèd art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.

 

 Eleventh Prayer, Also by St. John Chrysostom

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God Who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. I believe also that this is truly Thine Own most pure Body, and this is truly Thine Own precious Blood. Therefore, I pray Thee: have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, committed in knowledge or in ignorance. And make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, for the remission of my sins, and unto life everlasting. Amen.

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant, for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies; neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss, but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom.

May the communion of Thy holy Mysteries be neither to my judgment, nor to my condemnation, O Lord, but to the healing of soul and body. Amen.

As you approach the Chalice to partake, silently say the following verses by Symeon Metaphrastes:

Behold, I draw near to the divine communion.

Burn me not as I partake, O Creator,

For Thou art a fire which burns the unworthy.

Rather, cleanse me from every impurity.

Then say:

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant, for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies; neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss, but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom.

And the following verses:

Tremble, O man, when beholding the deifying Blood.

For it is a fire that burns the unworthy.

The Body of God both deifies and nourishes me.

It deifies the spirit and wondrously nourishes the mind.

Then, the following troparia:

Thou hast drawn me with longing, O Christ, and with Thy divine love Thou hast changed me. But burn away my sins with spiritual fire, and make me worthy to be filled with delight in Thee, that I may leap for joy, O gracious Lord, and magnify Thy two comings.

Into the splendor of Thy saints how shall I enter who am unworthy? For if I dare to enter the bridal chamber, my vesture will betray me, for it is not a wedding garment, and I shall be cast out by the angels, bound both hand and foot. Cleanse my soul from pollution and save me, O Lord, in Thy love for mankind.

And this prayer:

O Master Who lovest mankind, O Lord Jesus Christ my God, may these Holy Things be not unto my condemnation, unworthy though I am, but for the purification and sanctification of my soul and body, and as a pledge of the life and kingdom that are to come. For it is good for me to cleave to God and to place in the Lord my hope of salvation.

Then repeat:

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant, for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies; neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss, but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom.





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