Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift! II Corinthians 9:15
Good morning Prayer Team!
We thank You, loving Master, benefactor of our souls, that on this day You have made us worthy once again of Your heavenly and immortal Mysteries. Direct our ways in the right path, establish us firmly in Your fear, guard our lives, and make our endeavors safe, through the prayers and supplications of the glorious Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary and all Your saints.
Several reflections ago, we discussed prayers that are to be offered prior to receiving Holy Communion. Some of these prayers appear in virtually every edition of the Divine Liturgy that is in print. Many people, however, are unaware that there are prayers of thanksgiving following Holy Communion. That is because they are not printed in every edition of the Divine Liturgy books, and in some instances are in the back of the book, after the text of the Liturgy. The other reason people are unaware of their existence is that there isn’t a specific time when these prayers are offered at the Divine Liturgy. The “pre-Communion” prayers are sometimes heard from the altar and in some churches, they are read by the entire congregation.
One of the “post-Communion” prayers is offered by the priest “inaudibly” during the petitions following Communion. In many churches where the priest serves alone, a priest may offer this prayer after He has received Holy Communion. There are several prayers at the end of the Liturgy book (which also appear in other prayer books) which should be offered by the faithful after receiving Holy Communion.
In parishes where the Communion line is long, if you are one of the first to receive, go back to your pew and offer the post-Communion prayers. If not at that point, offer them while you are waiting for antithoron. Or purchase a copy of the Liturgy book and offer the prayers in front of your icons when you arrive home.
Because the encounter with Christ in Holy Communion is a personal encounter (in a community context), the thanksgiving to Christ following Communion should be a personal one as well—offering these prayers while in a community context is fine, or offering them after church is fine as well. But we should pause to thank God personally for the gift of the Eucharist.
The prayers following Holy Communion not only thank God, but they ask for Him, through the aid of the Eucharist, to direct our lives, to keep us on the right path and to guard our hearts. Through these prayers, the experience of receiving Holy Communion stays in our minds and hearts long after the service is over. If you have any questions about offering prayers before or after Holy Communion, this is a great question to ask your parish priest, who can not only point out where you can find these prayers, but also tell you the proper time in which they can be offered.
We thank You, Lord our God, for the Communion of Your holy, most pure, immortal, and heavenly Mysteries which You have granted us for the benefit, sanctification, and healing of our souls and bodies. Grant, Master of all, that the Communion of the Holy Body and Blood of Your Christ become for us faith unashamed, love unfeigned, fullness of wisdom, healing of soul and body, repelling of every hostile adversary, observance of Your commandments, and an acceptable defense at the dread judgement seat of Your Christ. (From the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great)
Live with a thankful heart today!
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