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“I Confess with Faith”

“Havadov Khosdovanim”

St. Nerses Shnorhali, the Gracious

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A Comprehensive Review

 

 

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St. Nerses, illustration of 19th century, Mekhitarists’ library, Venice

 

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A comprehensive review & analysis of “I Confess  with Faith” prayer

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Holy Spirit

1.  _________________________________________

I confess with faith and worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
uncreated and immortal Essence,  [1]
creator of angels, humans and of all that exists.  [2]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.  [3] [4]

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[1].   John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind”
[2].   from the Nicene Creed, as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church: “We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible.”
[3].   as St. Paul confesses in 1 Tim 1:15 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst”
[4].   St. Nerses at the end of each stanza recites: “Have mercy on me, a manifold sinner”, a petition of penance and contrition. It can be paralleled with the so-called “Prayer of the Heart”, a short repetitive form of prayer advocated especially in Eastern Orthodox Churches: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”

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Holy Spirit

2.  _________________________________________

I confess with faith and worship you,
O Indivisible Light,  [1]
unified Holy Trinity and one Godhead;
creator of light and dispeller of darkness,  [1]
dispel from my soul the darkness of sin and ignorance,  [2]
and enlighten my mind at this moment,  [3]
so that I may pray to you according to your will,  [4]
and receive from you the fulfillment of my requests.  [5] [6]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   John 1:4-5 “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
[2].   In Leviticus book, chapters 4-5 refer extensively to the sins of ignorance.
[3].   John 1:9 “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”
[4].   Daniel 9:3 “I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition”
[5].   Matthew 21:22 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
[6].   John 16:24 “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

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Holy Spirit

3.  _________________________________________

Heavenly Father, true God,  [1]
who sent your beloved Son to seek the lost sheep. [2] [3]
I have sinned against heaven and before you;  [4]
receive me as the prodigal son,  [5]
and clothe me with my former garment,
of which I was deprived by sin.  [5]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life; that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”
[2].   Matthew 15:24 “Jesus answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”
[3].   Luke 15:4-7 “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.”
[4].  from the Parable of the Prodigal Son: Luke 15:18-21 “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.”
[5].   The Parable of the Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-24

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Holy Spirit

4.  _________________________________________

Son of God, true God,  [1]
who descended from the bosom of the Father,  [2]
and took on flesh from the holy Virgin Mary for our salvation;  [3]
crucified, buried, and raised from the dead,  [4]
ascended in glory to the Father;  [4]
I have sinned against heaven and before you;
remember me like the penitent thief
when you come into your kingdom.  [5]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life; that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”
[2].   from the Nicene Creed, as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church: “We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of God the Father, only-begotten, that is of the substance of the Father. God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten and not made; of the same nature of the Father, by whom all things came into being in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.”
[3].  from the Nicene Creed, as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church: “Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, took body, became man, was born perfectly of the holy Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. By whom he took body, soul and mind and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance.”
[4].   from the Nicene Creed, as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church:  “He suffered and was crucified and was buried and rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven with the same body and sat at the right hand of the Father. He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there is no end. “
[5].  in Luke 23:40-43 the penitent thief said: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”, and Jesus answered him, “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

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Holy Spirit

5.  _________________________________________

Spirit of God, true God,  [1]
who descended on the river Jordan,  [2]
and into the Upper Room;  [2]
who enlightened me by the baptism of the Holy Font,  [3]
I have sinned against heaven and before you.
Purify me again with your divine fire,
as the fiery tongues purified the Holy Apostles.  [4]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life; that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”
[2].  from the Nicene Creed, as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church:  “We believe also in the Holy Spirit, the uncreated and the perfect; who spoke through the Law and through the Prophets and through the Gospels; Who came down upon the Jordan, preached through the apostles and dwelled in the saints.”
[3].   it refers to the holy sacrament of Baptism
[4].   The Holy Pentecost – Acts 2:1-11

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Holy Spirit

6.  _________________________________________

Uncreated Essence,  [1]
I have sinned against you,
with my mind, with my soul and with my body,  [2]
remember not my former sins
for the sake of your Holy Name.  [3] [4]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   John 1:1-3
[2].   The confession of sins: In the Armenian Apostolic Church, the penitent, during his confession of sins, reads a special supplication, in which all possible sins are enumerated. Through his heartfelt confession, the penitent receives forgiveness from the priest being invisibly released from his sins by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Extracts from this supplication of penitence are included in “Havadov Khosdovanim” prayer: “I have sinned against you, with my mind, with my soul and with my body; in thought, word and deed; willingly and inadvertently, knowingly and unknowingly; grant forgiveness unto me a sinner; I have sinned with all my senses and in all the members of my body. “
[3].   Jeremiah 31:31-34, “For I will forgive their wickedness, and will remember their sins no more.”
[4].   St. Paul makes a reference to Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Hebrews 8:12 “For I will forgive their wickedness, and will remember their sins no more.”

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Holy Spirit

7.  _________________________________________

Beholder of all,   [1]
I have sinned against you,
in thought, word and deed;  [2]
erase the record of my transgressions,  [3]
and write my name in the book of Life.  [4]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].  Genesis 16:13, Jeremiah 20:12 “Lord Almighty, you who examine the righteous, and probe the heart and mind.”
[2].   The confession of sins as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church (as cited above).
[3].  extract from Psalm 51 (Ψαλμός Ν’). Psalm 51 is one of the most revered and widely known Psalms of David. By prayerfully reciting this penitential psalm, it helps us to recognize our sinfulness, to express our sorrow and to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness.
[4].   Revelation 20:15 “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

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Holy Spirit

8.  _________________________________________

O Searcher of secrets,  [1] [2]
I have sinned against you,
willingly and inadvertently, knowingly and unknowingly.  [3]
Grant forgiveness unto me a sinner;  [4]
since from my birth through the holy baptism, until this day,  [5] [6]
I have sinned before you Lord,
with all my senses and in all the members of my body.  [7]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   Luke 8:17 “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
[2].   Luke 12:2-3 “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”
[3].  The confession of sins as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church (as cited above).
[4].  The confession of sins as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church (as cited above).
[5].   John 3:5-6 Jesus speaks to Nicodemus: “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
[6].   from the Nicene Creed, as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church: “We believe in one baptism with repentance for the remission and forgiveness of sins.”
[7].  The confession of sins as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church (as cited above).

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Holy Spirit

9.  _________________________________________

All-provident Lord,  [1]
place your holy awe as a guardian before my eyes, [2]
so that I may not look with askance;
before my ears, not to delight in hearing evil discourses,
before my mouth, not to speak falsehood,
before my heart, not to mediate wickedness,
before my hands, not to commit injustice,
before my feet, not to walk on the paths of iniquity;
rather, guide always my motions,
that they may be according to all your commandments. [3]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   Job 10:12 “You have granted me life and favor, and your providence has preserved my spirit.”
[2].  1 Peter 2:25 “For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.”
[3].   Psalm 16:1 “Protect me, O God, because I take refuge in you. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord. Without you, I have nothing good.” Those who lead holy lives on earth”

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Holy Spirit

10.  _________________________________________

O Christ, the quickening fire,  [1]
inflame my soul with the fire of your love
that you dispersed over the earth,  [2]
so that it may consume the stains of my soul;  [3]
cleanse my conscience and my mind,  [3]
purify my body from sin,  [3]
and kindle the light of your knowledge in my heart.  [4] [5]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   1 Corinthians 15:45 “The first man Adam was made a living soul; Jesus, the last Adam was made a quickening fire.”
[2].   John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
[3].   extract from Psalm 51 (Ψαλμός Ν’), as explained above.
[4].  Ephesians 3:19 “to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
[5].  2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness”, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

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Holy Spirit

11.  _________________________________________

O Jesus, wisdom of the Father,  [1]
grant me the wisdom that I may always  [2] [3]
think, speak, and do what is good in your sight.  [4]
deliver me from evil thoughts, words and deeds.  [5]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16 “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
[2].  James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
[3].   2 Chronicles 1:10 “Now, grand me the wisdom and knowledge” –
[4].   2 Samuel 19:38 “That I may do whatever is good in your sight”
[5].   2 Timothy 4:18 “The Lord will rescue me from evil thoughts, words and deeds.”

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Holy Spirit

12.  _________________________________________

Benevolent Lord,  [1]
your will encompasses all that is good,  [2]
you are the director of the will.  [2]
Do not let me follow the inclinations of my heart;  [3]
rather, guide me to always walk according to your good pleasure.  [4] [5]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].  Ephesians 1:9 “God made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.”
[2].  Romans 8:28 “And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. “
[3].   Jeremiah 7:24, Jeremiah 16:12
[4].  Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will, and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.”
[5].   Psalm 16:8 “You make the path of life known to me. Complete joy is in your presence. Pleasures are by your side forever.”

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Holy Spirit

13.  _________________________________________

Heavenly King, grant me your kingdom  [1] [2]
which was promised to your beloved,  [3]
and strengthen my heart to hate sin,  [4]
and to love only you, and to do your will.  [5]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   from the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father prayer) Matthew 6:9-13 “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. “
[2].   in Luke 23:42  the penitent thief said: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
[3].   James 2:5 “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”
[4].   Psalm 73:26 (Ψαλμός 72) “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
[5].   Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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Holy Spirit

14.  _________________________________________

Upholder of all creatures,
preserve by the sign of your cross,  [1]
my soul and body, from the allurements of sin, [2]
from the temptation of evil, from unjust people,
and from all dangers physical and spiritual. [3]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   The Sign of the Cross is a symbolic ritual gesture made at the name of the Holy Trinity, marking the four points of the Cross on Calvary over our body. It represents our love to God, to the Son and the Holy Spirit, with all our mind, from the deep of our heart.
[2].   Psalm 141:4 (Ψαλμός 140) “Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice deeds of wickedness With men who do iniquity”
[3].   Psalm 121:8 (Ψαλμός 120) “The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.”

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Holy Spirit

15.  _________________________________________

O Christ, guardian of all,  [1]
may your right hand guard and shelter me, day and night; [2] [3]
while at home and while traveling;
while I am sleeping and while I am awake,
so that I may never falter.  [4]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   Psalm 121:8 (Ψαλμός 120) “The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.”
[2].   Psalm 140:4 (Ψαλμός 129) “O Lord, shelter me from the power of the wicked! Protect me from violent men, who plan to knock me over.”
[3].   Psalm 94:22 (Ψαλμός 93) “But the Lord will protect me, and my God will shelter me.”
[4].   Psalm 96:10 (Ψαλμός 95) “The Lord reigns!” Indeed, he established the world so that it will not falter”

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Holy Spirit

16.  _________________________________________

My God, inside your open hand  [1]
the whole creation is filled with your bounty.  [2]
Unto you I commit my being; take care of me  [3]
and provide the needful for my soul and body,
from this time forth for evermore. [4]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   Psalm 104:28 (Ψαλμός 103) “They take what you give them; they are full of the good things which come from your open hand.”
[2].   Psalm 65:11 (Ψαλμός 64) “You crown the year with Your bounty, and Your paths overflow with plenty.”
[3].   Job 11:13 “So commit yourself to God completely. Reach out your hands to him for help.”
[4].   from the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father prayer) Matthew 6:9-13 “Give us this day our daily bread”

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Holy Spirit

17.  _________________________________________

Finder of the lost,  [1]
turn me away from my evil habits to good ones;
and imprint on my soul the dreadful day of death,
the fear of eternal punishment, [2] [3]
and the love of your kingdom,
so that I may repent of my sins, [4]
and I may follow the path of righteousness.  [5]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner
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[1].   Jesus and Zacchaeus – Luke 19:10 “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
[2].   Matthew 25:46 “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
[3].   1 Corinthians 11:32 “But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined and chastened, so that we may not be condemned to eternal punishment along with the world.”
[4].   Luke 5:31-32 “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
[5].   Provebs 2:20 “So you will walk in the way of good men And keep to the paths of the righteous.”

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Holy Spirit

18.  _________________________________________

Fountain of immortality,  [1] [2]
cause the tears of repentance to flow from my heart,
like those of Mary Magdalene,  [3]
so that, before I depart this world,
I may wash away the sins of my soul.  [4]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   Jeremiah 17:13 “Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.”
[2].   Proverbs 14:27 “the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.”
[3].   Luke 7:8 “As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”
[4].   Luke 7:47-48 “herefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven, as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

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Holy Spirit

19.  _________________________________________

Grantor of mercy,  [1]
grant that I may come to you
with true faith, with good works,  [2]
and the communion of your Holy Body and Blood. [3] [4]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   2 Chronicles 30:9 “For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”
[2].   Nehemiah 9:31 “But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.”
[3].   The Holy Eucharist – Luke 22:19-20 “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
[4].   1 Corinthians 11:17-34

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Holy Spirit

20.  _________________________________________

Benevolent Lord,  [1]
commit me to a good angel,  [2]
who may deliver up my soul in peace,
and convey it undisturbed
through the malice of evil, to heavenly places. [3]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].  The benevolence of God as St. Paul wrote in Romans 5:8  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”
[2].   Acts 2:15 “It is his guardian angel, they said”
[3].   from the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father prayer) Matthew 6:9-13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil.”

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Holy Spirit

21.  _________________________________________

O Christ, the true Light,  [1]
make my soul worthy to encounter with joy
the light of your divine glory,  [2]
on the day I will be called by you;
and to rest in good hope,
in the mansions of the righteous,
until the great day of your coming  [3]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   John 9:5 “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
[2].   The light of divine glory – Isaiah 60-62
[3].   John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

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Holy Spirit

22.  _________________________________________

Righteous judge,  [1]
when you come with the glory of the Father
to judge the living and the dead,
do not enter into judgement with your servant; [2]
but save me from the eternal fire,
and make me worthy to hear
the most blessed call of the righteous  [3] [4]
for those who will enter to your heavenly kingdom.  [5]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   2 Timothy 4:8 “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day”
[2].   Hebrews 12:23-24 “to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant”
[3].   John 3:15 “the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
[4].   John 12:47-50 “For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life.”
[5].  from the Nicene Creed, as recited in the Armenian Apostolic Church: “We believe in the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgment of souls and bodies, in the kingdom of heaven and in the life eternal.”

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Holy Spirit

23.  _________________________________________

All-merciful Lord,  [1]
have mercy on all those who believe in you;
on my beloved ones, and on those who are strangers to me;
on all those I know, and on those unknown to me;
on the living and on the dead;  [2] [3]
even forgive my enemies, and those who hate me,  [4] [5]
forgive the trespasses they have committed against me;
and relieve them from the malice they bear towards me,  [6]
so that they become worthy of your mercy.  [7] [8]
Have mercy upon your creatures,
and on me, a manifold sinner.
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[1].   Luke 6:36 “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
[2].   John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
[3].  Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
[4].   Matthew 5:44 “But, I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”
[5].   Luke 6:27 “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”
[6].   Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
[7].   Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
[8].   from the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father prayer) Matthew 6:9-13 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”

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Holy Spirit

24.  _________________________________________

O glorious Lord, receive the prayers of your servant;
and fulfill my requests that are deemed good.  [1]
Through the intercession of the Holy Mother of God,
and St. John the Baptist, and St. Stephen the first martyr,
and St. Gregory our Illuminator, and the Holy Apostles,
Prophets, Doctors of the Church,
Martyrs, Patriarchs, Hermits, Virgins,
and all your saints in heaven and on earth.
Unto you, O indivisible Holy Trinity,  [2]
be glory and worship, forever and ever. Amen.  [3]
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[1].   John 16:24 “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
[2].   John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
[3].   Doxology – from the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father prayer) “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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Holy Trinity rus

The Holy Trinity – the Hospitality of Abraham, 15th century icon by Andrei Rublev, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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