Deisis (Novogorod)

Blessing of First-Fruits at the Feast of the Transfiguration

St. George Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Pittsburgh, PAOn the feast of the Transfiguration the Church blesses the first-fruits of the harvest both as a giving back to the Lord what is His and has come from Him (1 Chronicles 29:14) and as a celebration of the promise of the final transfiguration of all things in Christ. The Divine Light glimpsed by the Apostles on Mount Tabor will transform all creation to its most perfect flowering and fruitfulness.

In Constantinople and the Greek world grapes were placed on a table in the center of the temple and offered and blessed at the end of the Divine Liturgy and then partaken of by the faithful. Over time this blessing was extended as other first-fruits were brought to be offered and blessed. The Trebnyk (Euchologion or Book of Needs) offers several different prayers, one of which is offered here:

Prayer for the Blessing of First-Fruits

O Lord God Jesus Christ, You said to Your disciples: "Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." We now humbly beseech You, bless + and sanctify these first-fruits which Your faithful servants have brought into Your temple today. Preserve the life and health of all those who partake of them, those who are present here and those who absent. Grant that these blessed first-fruits be an effective medicine for those who are sick and ailing, and a protection against the assaults of the enemy for those who keep them in their homes. May all those who partake of them enjoy the fullness of Your goodness and blessing. For You, O Christ God, are our true nourishment and the Giver of all that is good, and we send up glory to You, together with Your Father, Who is without beginning, and with Your all-holy, good, and live-giving Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.


Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Annunciation

Today is the fountainhead of our salvation, * and the revelation of an eternal mystery: * The Son of God becomes the Son of a Virgin, * and Gabriel announces the good news of grace. * Therefore, let us also cry with him to the Mother of God: * "Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

To you, O Mother of God, our leader and defender, * we, your servants, delivered from calamity, offer hymns of victory and thanksgiving. * So you, who have invincible might, * set us free from every peril * that we may cry to you: * "Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!" (Kontakion, Tone 8)

Random Proverb

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Every man baptized into Christ should pass progressively through all the stages of Christ's own life, for in Baptism he receives the power so to progress, and through keeping the Commandments he can discover and learn how to accomplish such progression.

St. Gregory of Sinai