Daily Devotion, January 23: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Have Mercy on Us

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”   Revelation 4:8

 

Good morning Prayer Team!

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.

This hymn is called the “Trisagion Hymn.”  “Agios” means “Holy” in Greek.  So, “Trisagion” means “three times that we say ‘Agios.’”  In Greek, this hymn reads, “Agios o Theos, Agios Ishiros, Agios Athanatos, eleison imas.”

The first part of the Liturgy that we have studied thus far is called “The Liturgy of the Word”.  It includes the many petitions that we have examined already.  It includes hymns.  And it concludes with scripture readings and a homily.  As we begin the transition from petitions and hymns to the reading of sacred Scripture, this hymn builds the bridge for us.  It first glorifies God, although the hymn is not descriptive about the nature of God—it doesn’t say “Holy is God, Holy and Mighty” as some translations incorrectly state.  It addresses God—Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal.  And then it asks God to “have mercy on us.”  So at the same time, this hymn gives glory to God and asks God for mercy.

During the singing of this hymn, the prayer examined in the previous reflection is offered by the priest.  While we sing this hymn, we should be thinking about the majesty of God.  We should think not only of the power of God but of His timelessness.   He created everything.  He has redeemed everything through the ministry of Jesus Christ.  And He has given us the tools we need to sustain us until He comes again, namely the church, which has given us the liturgy, and Holy Communion; and the scriptures, which give to us the Message of salvation.  Indeed this is a powerful moment of the Liturgy.

The Trisagion Hymn is another example of a hymn that is simple and repetitive.  The Trisagion Hymn is SAID at almost every service—it is said during Orthros and Vespers, in morning and evening prayers.  In most prayer books, it is the first prayer that is listed.  This is so that these words play in our minds and our hearts throughout the day.  And we remember our Holy, Mighty and Immortal Lord, we remember that we are in need of His mercies, and we remember that He bestows them so freely upon His people.

Another liturgical note to add here—The Trisagion Hymn is altered on occasion.  On Epiphany, the Feast of St. John the Baptist, the Saturday of Lazarus, Holy Saturday, Pascha, all of Bright Week, the Leave-Taking of Pascha, Pentecost, the Feast of the Holy Spirit, and Christmas, this hymn is replaced by the following: “All those who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia.”  In the ancient church, baptisms were not done privately and throughout the year as they are done now.  They were done in larger groups, on “baptismal days,” in the context of the Divine Liturgy.  The feasts mentioned in this paragraph were days when baptisms were traditionally conducted, so the Trisagion Hymn was replaced with this baptismal hymn.  In modern usage, baptisms are done privately throughout the year.  The “All those who have been baptized” hymn is still sung at each baptism, but has also been preserved on the aforementioned days.  On September 14 (feast of the Holy Cross) and the Third Sunday of Lent (Veneration of the Holy Cross), the Trisagion Hymn is replaced with the following: “You Cross, we venerate, o Master, and Your Holy Resurrection we glorify.”

For today’s prayer, I will print the prayers commonly known as the Trisagion Prayers.  The first four lines of the prayer constitute the Trisagion Hymn which is sung during the Divine Liturgy.  The Trisagion Prayers are customarily done as part of our morning prayers, and are very appropriate for every Christian to pray on a daily basis.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

All Holy Trinity have mercy on us; Lord forgive our sins; Master pardon our iniquities; Holy One Visit and heal our infirmities for the glory of Your name. 

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages.  Amen.

Have a great day!

 

+Fr. Stavros

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Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John…
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