Sunday, 19 May 2013

Prayer of the Holy Light

This beautiful prayer is recited silently by the Patriarch from within the Holy Sepulcher as part of the Mystery of the Holy Light, a rite unique to the Church of Jerusalem, whereby tangible, visible fire is sanctified, becoming for us an icon of the Uncreated Light. Once completed, the Patriarch comes out of the Tomb and distributes the holy fire to the faithful for sanctification of soul and body. Nowadays, the fire is not only brought to parishes throughout Palestine, but is transported by plane to Greece, Cyprus, Russia and other countries in time for their Resurrection services:

H.H. Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem
"Master, Lord Jesus Christ, the original wisdom of the beginningless Father, O unapproachable Light, who said that Light will proceed from darkness, who said let there be Light and there was Light. O Lord provider of Light who took us out of the delusion of darkness and led us to the miraculous Light of Your awareness. You fully illumined the whole earth through Your incarnate presence, also to the underworld Your descent into Hades brought light and joy, and after these through Your Apostles You gave the light to all nations that walked in darkness. We thank You because through pious faith, you brought us from darkness to light and we became sons through holy baptism, seeing Your glory full of grace and truth. O light-giver and Lord, O great light who called the people who were in darkness. Master, Lord, the true light that illumines every man who comes in the world, the only light of the world and light whose glory filled the universe, You brought the light to the world through Your economy of the incarnation even though people loved the darkness rather than the light. You Lord, giver of light, listen to us sinners and unworthy servants who, at this moment stand by this Your Most Holy and light bearing Tomb, and receive us who honour Your Holy Passion, Your most holy Crucifixion, Your voluntary death, the laying of Your divine body in this holy tomb, Your burial and Your resurrection after three days, which we joyfully have already started celebrating, remembering Your descent to Hades, by which the souls of the righteous You despotically freed, the lightning of Your divine light filled the underworld. So with a happy heart and spiritual joy, on this most blessed Sabbath, we celebrate Your most salvific mysteries which You divinely executed on earth and under the earth, and we remember You, the exhilarating and appealing light which You divinely shone in the underworld, we celebrate the appearance of the light, Your congenial divine appearance to us. Because during the salvific and bright night everything was filled with light, the heaven, the earth and the underworld through the supernatural mystery of Your descent to Hades and Your resurrection from the tomb after three days. By this [light], having received it with piety, from this, Your light-bearing Tomb we offer it to those who believe in You, the true light and ask and supplicate, O Most Holy Master, that You make this a gift of sanctification and full of Your every divine grace through the grace of your Most Holy and light- bearing Tomb. And those who touch it with piety, bless and sanctify them, free them from the darkness of passions and make them worthy of Your brightest dwellings, where the light of Your unsetting divinity shines. Lord, grant them health and good life and fill their homes with everything good. 
Yes, Lord, the Light-giver, listen to me the sinner at this moment, and grant to me and to them to walk in Your light and remain in it as long as we have the light of this temporary life. Lord grant us that the light of our good works shine in front of the people together with Your without beginning Father and the Holy Spirit. You appointed us to be the light to the nations that we shine to those walking in the darkness. But we have loved the darkness rather than the light, committing evil works. Anyone who does evil works hates the light according to Your faultless word. For in this we stumble every day due to our sinning because we walk in the darkness. But make us worthy to live the rest of our life with enlightened eyes and minds. Grant us to live as sons of light and walk in the light of Your commandments. The bright garment of our baptism which we have blackened by our evil works, whiten it like the light, transforming the light into garment. Grant us to dress ourselves with the weapons of light, that we may overcome the lord of darkness, who transforms himself into an angel of light. Yes, Lord, as You shone the light to those who are in darkness and under the shadow of death, likewise, today, shine in our hearts with Your pure light, so that becoming illumined and warmed up in faith, glorify You the one and only original light, exhilarating light to everlasting ages. Amen”. 

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