OREMUS: 14 February 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Wed Feb 13 20:38:10 GMT 2008

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OREMUS for Thursday, February 14, 2008
Cyril and Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 and 885

O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Blessed are you, God, rich in mercy,
you so loved the world 
that when we were dead in our sins,
you sent your only Son for our deliverance.
Lifted up from the earth,
he is light and life;
exalted upon the cross,
he is truth and salvation.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 15

Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?*
 who may abide upon your holy hill?
Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right,*
 who speaks the truth from his heart.
There is no guile upon his tongue;
   he does no evil to his friend;*
 he does not heap contempt upon his neighbour.
In his sight the wicked is rejected,*
 but he honours those who fear the Lord.
He has sworn to do no wrong*
 and does not take back his word.
He does not give his money in hope of gain,*
 nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things*
 shall never be overthrown.

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
   according to your loving-kindness;*
 in your great compassion blot out my offences.
Wash me through and through from my wickedness*
 and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,*
 and my sin is ever before me.
Against you only have I sinned*
 and done what is evil in your sight.
And so you are justified when you speak*
 and upright in your judgement.
Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth,*
 a sinner from my mother's womb.
For behold, you look for truth deep within me,*
 and will make me understand wisdom secretly.
Purge me from my sin and I shall be pure;*
 wash me and I shall be clean indeed.
Make me hear of joy and gladness,*
 that the body you have broken may rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins*
 and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,*
 and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence*
 and take not your holy Spirit from me.
Give me the joy of your saving help again*
 and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
I shall teach your ways to the wicked,*
 and sinners shall return to you.
Deliver me from death, O God,*
 and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness,
   O God of my salvation.
Open my lips, O Lord,*
 and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice,*
 but you take no delight in burnt-offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit;*
 a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Be favourable and gracious to Zion,*
 and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with the appointed sacrifices,
   with burnt-offerings and oblations;*
 then shall they offer young bullocks upon your altar.

A Song of Repentance (1 John 1. 5-9)

This is the message we have heard from Christ 
and proclaim to you:  
that God is light, 
in whom there is no darkness at all. 
If we say that we have fellowship with God 
while we walk in darkness,  
we lie and do not do what is true. 
But if we walk in the light 
as God is in the light,  
we have fellowship with one another. 
And the blood of Jesus, the Son of God,  
cleanses us from all our sins. 
If we say that we have no sin,  
we deceive ourselves 
and the truth is not in us. 
If we confess our sins,  
the One who is faithful and just will forgive us 
and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord from the heavens;*
 praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you angels of his;*
 praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon;*
 praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, heaven of heavens,*
 and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the Lord;*
 for he commanded and they were created.
He made them stand fast for ever and ever;*
 he gave them a law which shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,*
 you sea-monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and fog,*
 tempestuous wind, doing his will;
Mountains and all hills,*
 fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle,*
 creeping things and winged birds;
Kings of the earth and all peoples,*
 princes and all rulers of the world;
Young men and maidens,*
 old and young together.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,*
 for his name only is exalted,
   his splendour is over earth and heaven.
He has raised up strength for his people
   and praise for all his loyal servants,*
 the children of Israel, a people who are near him.

FIRST READING [Esther 14.1 5, 12 14]:

Queen Esther, seized with deadly anxiety, fled to the Lord. She took off her splendid
apparel and put on the garments of distress and mourning, and instead of costly
perfumes she covered her head with ashes and dung, and she utterly humbled her
body; every part that she loved to adorn she covered with her tangled hair. She prayed
to the Lord God of Israel, and said: 'O my Lord, you only are our king; help me, who
am alone and have no helper but you, for my danger is in my hand. Ever since I was
born I have heard in the tribe of my family that you, O Lord, took Israel out of all the
nations, and our ancestors from among all their forebears, for an everlasting
inheritance, and that you did for them all that you promised. Remember, O Lord; make
yourself known in this time of our affliction, and give me courage, O King of the gods
and Master of all dominion! Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion, and turn
his heart to hate the man who is fighting against us, so that there may be an end of him
and those who agree with him. But save us by your hand, and help me, who am alone
and have no helper but you, O Lord.

Words: Theoctistus, ca. 890; trans. John Mason Neale, 1862
Tune: Werde munter

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Jesus, Name all names above,
Jesus, best and dearest;
Jesus, Fount of perfect love,
holiest, tenderest, nearest:
Jesus, Source of grace completest;
Jesus purest, Jesus sweetest;
Jesus, Well of power divine,
make me, keep me, seal me thine!

Woe that I have turned aside
after fleshly pleasure!
Woe that I have never tried
for the heavenly treasure!
Treasure, safe in homes supernal,
incorruptible, eternal;
treasure no less price hath won
than the passion of the Son!

Jesus, crowned with thorns for me,
scourged for my transgression!
Witnessing, through agony,
that thy good confession!
Jesus, clad in purple raiment,
for my evils making payment:
let not all thy woe and pain,
let not Calvary be in vain!

Jesus, open me the gate
that of old he entered
who, in that most low estate,
wholly on thee ventured;
thou, whose wounds are ever pleading
and thy passion interceding,
from my misery let me rise
to a home in paradise!

SECOND READING [Matthew 7.7 12]:

Jesus said, 'Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the
door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who
searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone
among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for
a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to
your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those
who ask him!
'In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and
the prophets.'

The Benedictus (Morning), 
the Magnificat (Evening), or 
Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

We pray for the family of the church, for loving relationships,
and for the life of families around us, saying
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, born in poverty and soon a refugee,
be with families today who are poor 
and live in hunger and want. . .
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, who grew in wisdom and in favor with God and the people
in the family of Joseph the carpenter,
bring wisdom and the presence of God
into the work and growth of families today. . . 
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, who blessed marriage in the wedding at Cana,
be with those preparing for marriage
and with those who come to the end of their resources. . . 
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, who healed Peter's mother in law,
bring healing to hurt relationships and families today. . . 
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, who on the cross said,
'Mother, behold your son',
provide today for those who lose their families,
the bereaved and childless, orphans and widows. . . 
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, who on the seashore provided food for the disciples,
bring the whole Church on earth and in heaven
 into your risen presence to eat at the eternal banquet.
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Strengthen us, O Lord, by your grace, 
that in your might we may overcome all spiritual enemies, 
and with pure hearts serve you; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, 
by the power of the Holy Spirit you moved 
your servant Cyril and his brother Methodius 
to bring the light of the Gospel to a hostile and divided people: 
Overcome all bitterness and strife among us 
by the love of Christ, 
and make us one united family 
under the banner of the Prince of Peace;
Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
Trusting in the compassion of God,
let us pray as our Savior taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

May God give us
his comfort and his peace,
his light and his joy,
in this world and the next. Amen.

The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer are from _Celebrating Common
Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary
Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving adapts phrases from _Opening
Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press,
Norwich, 1999.

The closing sentence is from _New Patterns for Worship_,
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The second collect is from _The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and
Fasts_, 3rd edition, (c) 1980 The Church Pension Fund.

Cyril (originally Constantine) and Methodius were brothers, from a noble
family in Thessalonika, a district in northeastern Greece. Constantine was the
younger, born in about 827, and his brother Methodius in about 825. They
both entered the priesthood. Constantine undertook a mission to the Arabs,
and then became a professor of philosophy at the imperial school in
Constantinople and librarian at the cathedral of Santa Sophia. Methodius
became governor of a district that had been settled by Slavs. Both brothers
then retired to monastic life. In about 861, the Emperor Michel III sent them to
work with the Khazars northeast of the Black Sea in the Dnieper-Volga region
of what was later Russia. They learned the Khazar language and made many
converts, and discovered what were believed to be relics of Clement, an early
Bishop of Rome.
In about 863, Prince Rotislav, the ruler of Great Moravia (in today's Czech
Republic), asked the emperor for missionaries, specifying that he wanted
someone who would teach his people in their own language (he had western
missionaries, but they used only Latin). The emperor and the Patriarch Photius
sent Methodius and his brother Constantine, who translated the Liturgy and
much of the Scriptures into Slavonic.
Since Slavonic had no written form, they invented an alphabet for it, the
Glagolitic alphabet, which gave rise to the Cyrillic alphabet (named for Cyril),
which is used to write Russian and (with modifications) several related
languages today. Thus the brothers were the first to produce written material in
the Slavic languages, and are regarded as the founders of Slavic literature.
The brothers encountered missionaries from Germany, representing the
western or Latin branch of the Church, and more particularly representing the
Holy Roman Empire as founded by Charlemagne, and committed to linguistic,
and cultural uniformity. They insisted on the use of the Latin liturgy, and they
regarded Moravia and the Slavic peoples as their rightful mission field. When
friction developed, the brothers, unwilling to be a cause of dissension among
Christians, went south toward Venice, and then from Venice to Rome to see
the Pope, hoping to reach an agreement that would avoid quarreling between
missionaries in the field. They brought with them the above-mentioned relics of
Clement, third bishop of Rome after the Apostles (see 23 November). They
arrived in Rome in 868 and were received with honor. Constantine entered a
monastery there, taking the name Cyril, by which he is now remembered.
However, he died only a few weeks thereafter. He is buried in Rome in the
Church of San Clemente.
The Pope (Adrian II) gave Methodius the title of Archbishop of Sirmium (now
Sremska Mitrovica in Yugoslavia) and sent him back in 869, with jurisdiction
over all of Moravia and Pannonia, and authorization to use the Slavonic
Liturgy. Soon, however, Prince Rotislav, who had originally invited the
brothers to Moravia, died, and his successor did not support Methodius. In 870
the Frankish king Louis and his bishops deposed Methodius at a synod at
Ratisbon, and imprisoned him for a little over two years. The pope (John VIII)
secured his release, but told him not to use the Slavonic Liturgy any more. In
878 he was summoned to Rome on charges of heresy and using Slavonic. This
time Pope John was convinced by his arguments and sent him back cleared of
all charges, and with permission to use Slavonic. He died 6 April 885 in
Velehrad, the old capitol of Moravia. The Carolingian bishop who succeeded
him, Wiching, suppressed the Slavonic Liturgy and forced the followers of
Methodius into exile. Many found refuge with King Boris of Bulgaria
(852-889), under whom they reorganized a Slavic-speaking Church.
Meanwhile, Pope John's successors adopted a Latin-only policy which lasted
for centuries.
Today Cyril and Methodius are honored by Eastern and Western Christians
alike, and the importance of their work in preaching and worshiping in the
language of the people is recognized on all sides. [James Kiefer, abridged]

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