Protopresbyter Antonios Christou
A supplicatory canon (paraklisi) is a poem of the Orthodox Church. These poems are extensions of Vespers services or they can stand alone. The supplicatory canons are sung by Christians in churches or at home, at various times of need and sorrow, for the healing of souls and bodies.
A supplicatory canon is an intercession and is addressed to Christ, the Mother of God, Saint John the Baptist or one of the many saints.
The oldest extant supplicatory canons are the small (a poem by the monk Theostiriktos or by Theofanis the Confessor, dating to the 9th century); and the great (a poem by Emperor Theodoros Doukas Laskaris, 13th century). They both have the same numbers of verses, 32, with 4 to each ode or canticle, but the verses, and the model (irmos) according to which they’re sung, are clearly longer in the great canon.
We honor and hymn the Mother of God, we ask her to govern our lives and, as the ‘invincible bulwark and protection’ and ‘most secure fortress’ that she is, to preserve us from the ‘arrows shot by the demons’ which surround us and which we’re unable to deal with on our own. In this way, we Christians truly experience the ‘summer Easter’, in August.
Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person – the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.
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