V32 #6 Prayers to Theotokos
Reprinted from Orthodox Life Vol. 32, No. 6 - November - December, 1982
Prayers to the Most Holy Theotokos for Every Day of the Week
by Schema-hieromonk St. Nilus of Sora Skete (†1870)
All-merciful Virgin Theotokos, Mother of compassions and love for mankind, my most beloved hope and aspiration! O Mother of the most sweet and most desired Savior, Who exceedeth every love, Jesus Christ, the Lover of mankind and my God, the Light of my darkened soul! I, the exceeding sinful and hopeless one, fall down before thee, to thee I make my prayer, O well-spring of compassion, Virgin Mary, who didst bear the Abyss of compassion and Depth of mercies and love for mankind: Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, I painfully cry to thee; have mercy on me who am all in wounds, who have fallen among brutish thieves and who am, alas!, stripped naked of the garment in which the Father clothed me. Wherefore I lie stripped of every good deed, my wounds stinking and festering before my madness. My Mistress, Theotokos, look down on me, I humbly pray thee, with thy merciful eye and despise me not, who am all in darkness, all in filth, all immersed in the mire of passions, terribly fallen and unable to stand. Do thou take pity on me and grant me a helping hand, lift me up out of sinful depths, O my Joy! Deliver me from them that surround me; make thy face to shine upon thy servant; save the perishing, cleanse the filthy, raise up the terrible fallen: for thou canst do all things, as thou art the Mother of God Almighty. Pour forth on me the oil of thy compassion and grant me to overflow the wine of compunction, for I have acquired thee as truly the only hope in my life; turn thou not away from me who flee to thee, but behold my grief, O Virgin, and the longing of my soul and accept this prayer and save me, O thou the Mediatress of my salvation. Amen.
From polluted lips accept thou a prayer, O unblemished, pure and most- pure Virgin Theotokos, and despise not my words, O my Joy, but look down on me and have pity, O Mother of my Maker. During my lifetime do thou not abandon me, for thou knowest, O Mistress, that I place all my hope on thee and all mine aspiring is alter thee. Wherefore, at the time also of my death, stand thou before me, O my helper, and be not then ashamed of me. For I know, O Virgin, that I am guilty of many sins, and I, the wretched one, tremble, contemplating that hour. But thou, my Joy, reveal unto me then thy presence, work thy mercy marvelously upon me, O Mediatress of my salvation. Rescue me, O Mistress, from the cruelty of the demons, and from the fearsome and terrible trial of the spirits of the air, and deliver me from their malice, and transform all that grief and sorrow into joy by thine enlightenment and grant me to pass unharmed through the principalities and powers of darkness and to attain to worship at the throne of glory before Christ our God Who sitteth there with His Beginningless Father and All-Holy Spirit. Amen.
O My most holy Mistress, the Theotokos, who art far more honorable than the angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, and far more holy than all the saints, O Virgin Mother of God! Save me, thy humble and sinful servant, for thou knowest, all-merciful Lady, that, alter God, I place all my hope in thee, and that I have no other refuge of salvation but thee, O all-good one. Thou art my strength, O Mistress, thou art my power, thou my rejoicing in sorrows, thou my haven in temptations, thou my correction in falls, thou also mine all-hoped for salvation, O Mother of my Lord and Maker! Help me, who sail upon the depths of this life, terribly beset and endangered by drowning in sin. Grant me a helping hand, my helper, and deliver me from the mire of the deep, that I not sink down into the abyss of despair: for the storm of sins and passions hath risen against me and the waves of transgressions overwhelm me. But do thou, O compassionate Mother, thou haven of passionlessness, direct and save me, O hope of the hopeless and mediatress of my salvation. Amen.
O Theotokos, thou art my hope, thou art a wall and haven of good hope and a refuge of salvation for me who am exhausted by the presence of passions! Save me from all mine enemies that persecute my soul and hunt for it with various temptations; for on the way wherein I walk they have hidden many snares for me, many scandals, many hardships, many deceptions, and many afflictions of soul and body snare me into sinful falls and I, the wretched one, have already fallen into the traps of the enemy and am bound and held by them; and what shall I do, I the despairing one? I know not! For if I seek to repeat, I am held by lack of feelings and hardness of heart and a single tear! Alas for my cursed state! Alas for my deprivation! Alas for my poverty! To whom then, can I turn, I the guilty one? Only to thee, the compassionate Mother of our Lord and Savior, the hope of the hopeless, the wall and protection of them that flee unto thee! Turn not away from me who am filthy: I have thee as the only consolation in my life, O Virgin Mary Theotokos, and to thee alone in every need do I flee with boldness; do not abandon me, then, in this life and at the hour of my death come thou to mine aid, O my helper, that all mine enemies may behold thee and be put to shame, being conquered by thee, O Mistress, Mediatress of my salvation. Amen.
Who can worthily bless thee, All-holy Virgin; what lips are capable of hymning thy majesty which surpasseth all conceiving? Most glorious are all the mysteries fulfilled in thee, O Theotokos, loftier than thought and word. At the beauty of thy virginity and thy most radiant purity the cherubim did marvel and the seraphim were struck with awe; for the miracle of the Childbirth without corruption neither human nor angelic tongue can tell. For from thee the Ageless and Only-begotten Son of God, God the Word, ineffably took flesh, was born and lived among men; and thee, as His Mother, hath He greatly magnified, revealing thee as the Queen of all creation and for us the signal refuge of salvation. Wherefore, all that flee under thy protection, being assailed by various sorrows and afflictions, receive from thee consolation and healing in abundance and by thee are saved from dangers. For thou art truly the Mother of all that sorrow and are heavy laden, the joy of the grieving, the healer of the sick, the preserver of youths, the staff of old age, the glory of the righteous, the sinners' hope of salvation and guide to repentance; for thou dost ever help all with thy protection and dost intercede for all that flee to thee with faith and love, O thou all-good one. Do thou also help me who am in despair over my deeds, O fervent Mediatress for the Christian race: Intercede thou for me, that I not perish until the end in sins; for I have no other refuge and protection, but thee, the Mistress of my life: Abandon me not, despise me not, but by thy judgments that thou thyself dost know, do thou save me, for blessed art thou unto ages of ages. Amen.
To thee do I entrust my life for protection and, on thee, alter God, do I place all hope of my salvation, O Mistress and Virgin Theotokos. I, thy servant, pray thee, despise not me who have many sins, but behold my sorrow and my perplexity over them and grant me relief and consolation, that I not perish to the end. Stretch forth thy right hand, O pure one, lift me from the mire of my deeds and place me in the pure pasture of the commandments of Christ, my King and God, that I may ever act strengthened by Thee. Deliver me, O Lady, from my terrible sins and by thy motherly intercession before thy Son and God send me repentance unto salvation. Thou who didst show forth the ineffable Light, enlighten my spiritual darkness and the sinfullness which lieth there. O my Joy, deliver me from the invisible enemies that surround me; for my sins are many and they are heavy, my enemies are very fierce, death is near, my conscience doth accuse me, the fiery Gehenna doth Terrify me, the unsleeping worm, the gnashing of teeth, the outer darkness of Tartarus do bring me to trembling, for they seek to take me in because of my evil deeds. Woe is me! What shall I do then, and to whom shall I flee, that my soul be saved? To thee alone, O sweet Theotokos Mary, who cloth sweeten the bitterness of death for them that hope in thee and who doth deliver them that cry unto thee from terrible Gehenna. Do thou also help me, O all-good one, for then I shall have no other help but thee, all hymned one. Save me then from the terrors of the hour of death and the ferocity of the demons; save me from the power of the malicious spirits at the trials of the air after death: Reveal, I pray thee, reveal to me then thy most radiant presence, O Mistress, and do thou not abandon me the helpless one. O compassionate Mother! Stoop down to mercy towards me who am deprived of mercy by my deeds and do thou beseech Him Whom thou didst bear in the flesh, even Christ our God and Savior, Who did pour forth His most pure blood on the cross, that I also may receive forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation and glorify thine unspeakable compassion, O Theotokos, and thy merciful intercession, through out endless ages. Amen.
Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos, thou haven and protection of mine impoverished soul, my sweet hope of salvation! Rejoice, thou who from the angel didst receive the joy of the good tidings that God the Word was to take flesh of thee! Rejoice, thou who didst bear the Creator of all within thy womb! Rejoice, thou who didst give birth to God in the flesh, the Savior of the world! Rejoice, thou who didst preserve virginity uncorrupted in childbirth! Rejoice, thou who didst receive gifts from the magi and didst behold their worship of Him Who wast born of thee and didst hear the shepherds' most glorious words concerning Him and didst lay all these things up in thy heart! Rejoice, thou who didst joyfully find the child Jesus, thy Son and God, in the temple among the teachers of the Law! Rejoice, thou who didst bear the terrible pain of anguish at the cross, crucifixion and death of thy Son and God! Rejoice, thou who after such trials was radiantly gladdened by the resurrection of sweetest Jesus on the third day! Rejoice, thou who didst behold the ascension of thy Son and God in heavenly glory! Rejoice, thou who together with the disciples of the Lord didst receive from Him the Holy Spirit, Which was sent down on the upper room in the form of fiery tongues! Rejoice, thou that didst live like an angel on earth! Rejoice, thou that didst surpass in purity and holiness all the angelic orders and all the choirs of saints! Rejoice, thou that art magnified with glory by the coming to thee of thy Son and God! Rejoice, thou that didst entrust thy soul into His holy hands! Rejoice, thou that gloriously wast taken up bodily into heaven! Rejoice, thou that didst appear to the God-beholding apostles on the third day after thy repose! Rejoice, thou that art crowned in the heavens by the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit with the diadem of the eternal kingdom! Rejoice, thou that hast been enthroned in glory near the throne of the All-holy Trinity! Rejoice, thou through whom God is reconciled with man! Rejoice, Queen ruling over things heavenly and earthly! Rejoice, for nothing is impossible for thine intercession! Rejoice, for all that flee to thee with fi~th are saved! Rejoice, for by thee the grieving find consolation, the ailing healing, the afflicted timely help! I then pray thee, O Mistress full of grace, extinguish in me sinful sorrow and grant me the joy of salvation, consoling tears, constant compunction, true repentance and perfect correction. Despise me not, O Mistress, but mercifully receive these joyful cries offered to thee by me the poor one, and come thou to mine aid at the time of my helplessness, in that terrible hour when my soul will be parted from my cursed body; come, then, I pray, to mine aid and deliver me, who am guilty in sin, from the eternal punishment, that I appear not a joy to demons and food for the fiery Gehenna. Yea, my Mistress, permit not my soul to see the terrible and fearsome threat and torment of the demons prepared for sinners, but do thou go before me and save me thy servant in that terrible hour, that I may glorify thee unto the ages, mine only hope and the Mediatress of my salvation. Amen.
Translated by Hieromonk Ioannikios from: Izbrannyia Molitvy Bozhiej Materi, Jordanville, 1971.