The Prayer of St Ephrem

There are many prayers in the Greek corpus attributed to St Ephrem, but the most well-known is the Lenten ‘Prayer of St Ephrem’ appointed to be said daily throughout the forty-day Fast preceding Pascha.

O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, meddling, love of power, [love of money], and idle talking give me not. A spirit, rather, of chastity, humble-mindedness, patience, and love bestow upon me, thy servant. Yea, O Lord, King, grant me to see my own failings and not  condemn my brother, for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Κύριε καὶ Δέσποτα τῆς ζωῆς μου, πνεῦμα ἀργίας, περιεργίας, φιλαρχίας, [φιλαργυρίας], καὶ ἀργολογίας μή μοι δός· πνεῦμα δὲ σωφροσύνης, ταπεινοφροσύνης, ὑπομονῆς καὶ ἀγάπης χάρισαί μοι τῷ σῷ δούλῳ. Ναί, Κύριε Βασιλεῦ, δώρησαί μοι ὁρᾶν τὰ ἐμὰ πταίσματα, καὶ μὴ κατακρίνειν τὸν ἀδελφόν μου· ὅτι εὐλογητὸς εἶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν*

Harley MS 5541 f.9v

Harley MS 5541, ff. 9r-9v (British Library, 4th quarter of the 15th century-1st quarter of the 16th century)

The ancient Slavonic translation does not reproduce the Greek text as we have it today, but contains some variations.

O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of despondency, negligence, love of money, and idle talking take from me. A spirit, rather, of chastity, humility, patience and love bestow upon me thy servant. Yea, O Lord, King, grant me to see mine own sins and not condemn my brother, for blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.

Господи и владико животѹ моемѹ, духъ оунынїѧ, небрежεнїѧ, срεбролюбїѧ и празднословїѧ ѿжεни ѿ мεнε. Духъ же цѣломѹдрїѧ, смиренїѧ, терпѣнїѧ и любве дарѹй ми рабѹ твоемѹ. Ей Господи Царю, даждь ми зрѣти моѧ согрѣшенїѧ, и еже не ωсуждати брата моегω, якω благословенъ еси во вѣки. Аминь.**

016-0039

 Horologion, 1423, Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra


*Precationes e sacris scripturis collectae, quarum pleraequae sunt Sancti Ephraim, pro iis qui uolunt suam ipsorum procliuem ad passiones uoluptatesque uoluntatem cohibere, number 9 (ed. Phrantzoles 6:353) (CPG 4078.9). Cf. Ad imitationem proverbiorum (CPG 3910; ed. Phrantzoles 1:261, 266).

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