Friday, September 11, 2009

A prayer by St. Nerses the Graceful of Armenia

St. Nerses the Graceful, A hymnic prayer to the Suffering Christ

Restorer of the universe, who clothed us with your glorious light, on whom the soldiers spread the crimson mantle of reproach; remove from me the rags of sin stained with the horrible blood and clothe me anew with my former robe.
They bent the knee mocking you, heavenly King, they inflicted blows on your crowned head and hit you with the reed, and so did I stoop down to earth, obeying the will of the evil one. Let me not become the object of his game but lift me up again.
The mob surrounded you physically following the verdict of the judge, and you received blows on your skull for the sake of the skull of the first-born man. By virtue of the baptismal font restore me to health, the one needlessly afflicted from head to toe.
In lieu of the sacred and shining ornament which you placed on Aaron’s head, the tillers of Israel’s vineyard placed a crown of thorns on you. Take away from me, the thorn of sin with which the enemy has inflicted me, and heal the lacerated wound so that the scars of sin may be eradicated.
They gave you the gall to drink, the vinegar to the thirsty. You drank of it willingly, so that the fruits of bitterness of the venom which has been injected in the recesses of my soul and thus may your love be sweetened therein.
In lieu of the tree that ushered in death, once planted in paradise, you lifted the wood of the Cross, raising it on Golgotha. Lift up my soul submerged in sin, O Lifter of the heaviest burden, as you lifted up the sheep upon your shoulder. Take my soul up from earth to its promised place.
At the third hour on Friday you, Lord, were nailed to the Cross, loosening the shackles of the first-born man and binding the enemy. Strengthen me beneath the shadow of your life-giving Sign [referring to the Cross] and enlighten me with its light from the rising of the sun.
The gates of the Edenic paradise were opened to the blessed thief, his petition being granted according to his faith. Grant me also, Lord, with him to hear the same response: ‘Today you shall be with me in Eden, your first homeland.’

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