Penitential prayer of St. Ephrem Sirin in Lent
Lent is a special time when the soul is cleansed from its sins. For this period, the church has its own traditions. When I first decided to observe fasting, I thought that it concerned only bodily abstinence.
But the rejection of meager food — a small part of the post, not the most important. I learned that for the Lent period there are special texts of prayers, including the penitential prayer of Ephraim Sirin.
I began to read it during the home rule, and also to repeat after the priest during the service.
I can say that my attitude towards Lent has changed a lot. I realized that this time is not at all the training of willpower, like a diet. With the prayer of Efrem Sirin, real repentance came to my life, an understanding of all the flaws in my life and the possibility of its improvement.
Prayer sets in a special way — you feel closer to God, sins become clearer. Changing attitudes towards life, towards others, there is more understanding and love.
Anyone who would like to better understand the values of the Orthodox faith, I recommend reading the prayer of St. Efrem Sirin during the fast.
What is the meaning of penitential prayer?
Not all of us know the thousand-year church traditions well. But if it comes time for spiritual renewal, then you should study the history of faith, basic texts and rituals.
These ancient traditions include the reading of the penitential prayer of Efrem Sirin during the Great Lent.
This text was written by Rev. Ephraim Sirin, a Christian ascetic and poet, as early as the 4th century AD, which means prayer for about 17th centuries. In prayer, we list the basic sins, ask God to forgive us for them, and also ask him to help us realize what we have departed from His plan.
Prayer is short, it is quite possible to memorize. But despite its size, it is filled with deep meaning and has great renewing power.
In it, we ask God to deliver us from our sins:
- the spirit of idleness (laziness);
- loving authority (passion, lust for power);
- idle talk
There is a strictly defined time for reading the prayer of Efrem Sirin. In the temple and at home, they begin to read it even before the beginning of Lent, during Shrovetide — this is how the gradual preparation for the period of repentance occurs.
On Wednesday and Friday, at the Cheese Week, the priest reads this text in the temple. After that, a break in the reading of the prayer (for the weekend) is made, and with the beginning of the Great Lent, the prayer is read during the divine service every day.
The exception is the weekend — these days there is a relaxation and fasting mode, as well as a break in the reading of this prayer.
Only it should be understood that in the church tradition ancient ideas and rules are used. Therefore, according to the old rules, Friday evening already refers to weekends, while Sunday evening refers to Monday.
This means that during the entire four weeks of fasting, you can read the text of Ephraim Sirin from the evening of the resurrection and ending with the morning rule on Friday during the home reading of the prayers. Also, the prayer is recited in the first three days of Holy Week (until Wednesday), after which other texts are used in both home reading and church services.
Thus, the prayer is read in the following days:
- the end of Shrovetide,
- 4 weeks of Great Lent (fourtieth, except weekends),
- beginning of the Passion Week.
Basic rules for reading
Since the text created by Efrem Sir relates to special prayers, there are special rules for reading for it. These rules are the same for home prayer and for reading in the temple (together with the parishioners and the priest).
I will also emphasize the fact that this text is read in the church not by a reader, but by a priest, which speaks of the significance of prayer.
The order of recital prayer is as follows:
- during the prayer, you need to bow to the ground three times (kneel down, touch the floor with your forehead),
- after reading the main text 12 times, it is necessary to say a short prayer: “God, cleanse me, a sinner”,
- after that the prayer of Ephraim the Syrian is again pronounced,
- a bow is made.
This order of uttering prayers is accepted both in church, during church service, and during home reading.
Brief history of Efrem Sirin
It is known that Ephraim Sirin lived in the 4th century AD. and was by origin a Syrian (hence the nickname). He led a rather merry life without denying himself anything. But once, by mistake, he was put in prison.
Ephraim was very indignant, he wanted to prove his innocence.
But a very strange thing happened — the legend tells that an angel appeared in the prison of Ephraim and showed him his former sins, for which he was not punished. Thus, in prison, he was completely fair.
Realizing his sinfulness, the young man sincerely repented.
Soon his innocence was proved, and Ephraim was released from prison. At liberty he devoted himself to serving God and composing verses praising God’s greatness.
- During Lent, it is extremely important to read special prayers, including the prayer of Efrem Sirin.
- Be sure to attend the church and attend church services.
- During Lent, it is recommended to read the prayer of Efrem Sirin at home.
- To read a prayer, you can print the text or write his hands.
For your convenience, a video is attached here in which you can listen to the correct pronunciation of some obsolete words and the staging of accents.
Do not forget to pray more often in the Great Lent!
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