The Lenten Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian – 1

The late Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, former Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, wrote an informative article entitled The Lenten Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian.  His article provides a fundamental theological understanding of this familiar lenten prayer. Please join us in reviewing the article in a series over the course of the weekdays of Lent. The first excerpt follows…

“Of all lenten hymns and prayers, one short prayer can be termed thelenten prayer. Tradition ascribes it to one of the great teachers of spiritual life – St. Ephrem the Syrian. Here is its text:

Lenten Prayer St Ephraim

This prayer is read twice at the end of each lenten service Monday through Friday (not on Saturdays and Sundays for, as we shall see later, the services of these days do not follow the lenten pattern). At the first reading, a prostration follows each petition. Then we all bow twelve times saying: ‘O God, cleanse me a sinner.’ The entire prayer is repeated with one final prostration at the end.

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