Thursday, November 25, 2010


Our parish observes this American holiday at Wednesday compline by singing the Akathist of Thanksgiving. It's not what you might think. Although the Akathist was composed quite recently, it had nothing to do with Pilgrims and sweet potatoes. The hymn is attributed to a priest Gregory Petrov and is said to have been discovered after his death in a Soviet prison camp. I liken it to the Mourner's Kaddish in Jewish tradition, which is recited by those who have recently lost a loved one. The prayer itself seems to have nothing to do with mourning but is rather a beautiful praise to God. Similarly, the Akathist was apparently written amid intense suffering, but its focus is praise for God's manifold goodness. In both cases, the message seems to be that our greatest need to offer praise and thanksgiving is when things aren't going so well--when the only alternative is to slander God for his silence, laziness, or capricious violence.

Still, if we need such expressions most when life is at its worst, that hardly means they can't apply as well in less dire circumstances. So I think it's a good meditation for Thanksgiving Day and probably for the rest of the year. I actually went through the hymn not long ago to pull out some lines that might be useful to memorize for various occasions. In some Jewish prayer books there is a section of short blessings to be said in situations that might come up as we go through our daily lives. I thought it would be nice to have something comparable to work with, though admittedly I haven't thought much about it since.

Anyway, here's the list I came up with. (Certainly there could be others.) A few bracketed items were actually drawn from other blessings, but most of what's here is from the Akathist.


  • Feast: Glory to Thee for the feast of life!
  • [Bread: Glory to Thee, who didst bless the five loaves and didst therewith feed the five thousand!
  • Meat: Glory to Thee, who didst command the fatted calf to be slain for thy son who had gone astray, and who had returned again to Thee!]
  • Fruit: Glory to Thee for the delightful diversities of berries and of fruits!
  • [Wine: Glory to Thee, who permittest the fruit of the vine to come to maturity!
  • Other: Glory to Thee, the Creator and Maker of all things!]


  • Flowers: Glory to Thee for the perfume of lilies-of-the-valley and of roses!
  • Other: Glory to Thee Who hast brought forth from the earth’s darkness diverse colours, taste, and fragrance!

Daily Cycle

  • Morning: Glory to Thee for the diamond brilliance of morning dew!
  • Sunrise: Glory to Thee for the smile of light awakening!
  • Meditation: Glory to Thee for the happiness of living, moving, and meditating!
  • Manual Labor: Glory to Thee for the vivifying power of labour!
  • Service: Glory to Thee, Who transfigurest our life by good deeds!
  • Reward for Service: Glory to Thee, Who dost vouchsafe great rewards for precious good deeds!
  • Sunset: Glory to Thee for the farewell rays of the setting sun!
  • Evening: Glory to Thee in the tender hour of evening!
  • Night: Glory to Thee for Thy favour in the darkness, when all the world is distant!
  • Sleep: Glory to Thee for the rest of grace-filled sleep!


  • Family/Friends: Glory to Thee for the love of kindred, and the faithfulness of friends!
  • Catechumen: Glory to Thee Who hast founded Thy Church as a quiet refuge for a spent world!
  • Newly Illumined: Glory to Thee Who renewest us by the life-giving waters of baptism!
  • Secular Thinker: Glory to Thee for the genius of the human mind!
  • Scripture/Saint: Glory to Thee for the fiery tongues of inspiration!
  • Other People: Glory to Thee for providential meetings with people!

  • Domestic Animals: Glory to Thee for the meekness of animals which serve me!
  • Wild Animals: Glory to Thee, for the thousands of Thy creatures Thou hast set round about us!
  • Nature: Glory to Thee Who hast revealed unto me the beauty of the universe!
  • Science: Glory to Thee Who hast shown Thine unfathomable power in the laws of the universe!
  • Revelation: Glory to Thee for all that Thou hast revealed unto us by Thy goodness!
  • Mystery: Glory to Thee for all that Thou hast concealed in Thy wisdom!
  • Grief: Glory to Thee, Who sendest failures and sorrows, that we might pity the sufferings of others!
  • Passage of Grief: Glory to Thee Who curest sorrows and bereavements with the healing passage of time!
  • Confession: Glory to Thee, Who restorest to penitents purity as a spotless lily!
  • Providence: Glory to Thee for providential coincidence of circumstances!

No comments:

Post a Comment