Pascha and Pentecost: A Prayer

In the Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Rite, it is customary to begin the conclusion of the Liturgy with a dismissal prayer. The dismissal begins with the priest intoning, “let us depart in peace!” The people respond, “in the name of the Lord.” The deacon intones the call to prayer, “let us pray to the Lord,” and the people respond, “Lord, have mercy.” 

This prayer is called the “Prayer behind the ambon,” or the “opisthambanos prayer.” In our days, the priest intones the prayer somewhere among the people in the nave.

Most parishes use the same text of the prayer for the liturgies of Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Basil the Great. A few parishes use variant texts of the prayers written for feasts and festal periods. 

The following prayer was written for the period of Pentecost, the fifty days of rejoicing. It is read for the first time at the Divine Liturgy on Pascha, and at every Liturgy through the feast of Pentecost. Christians of all confessions are welcome to adopt the prayer. 

God and lover of humankind, your only-begotten Son and Word of God, creator of all living things, was with you in the beginning. You sent him into the world; taking on flesh and dwelling among us, he was like us in every way except for sin. With the myrrhbearing women and the holy apostles, we have beheld his glory, received his grace, and witnessed to his truth. You sent Your all-holy Spirit upon his apostles, enabling them to proclaim the good news of your kingdom to the world. Now as then, by your mercy and love, pour out your divine grace upon us. Count us worthy of witnessing to your glory on earth, as you cast out demons, heal the sick, feed the hungry, console the afflicted, and raise the dead. Bless those who bless you and who sing the praises of your holy resurrection during these fifty days of rejoicing. Grant us your peace when we gather as you commanded and continue our journey to you as pilgrims in this world. For you are good, o God, and the lover of humankind, and unto you are due all glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.    

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