Glory to God for All Things!
This time of year is a good time to give thanks to God in all things. A special work of one of the parishes of our Archdiocese, St. Ignatius of Antioch Orthodox Christian Church of Madison, Wisconsin, pastored by Fr. Patrick Kinder, helps us remember the blessings we have received from God. The people of St. Ignatius have produced an excellent recording of one of the most powerful prayers of the recent life of the Orthodox Church, the Akathist of Thanksgiving of Fr. Gregory Petroff. This inspiring CD is available for purchase on their website, in support of their parish building fund.
Since the fall of Communism, we have all come to a more complete knowledge of the crimes against humanity committed in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union by those dedicated to the destruction of Tsarist rule, the Orthodox and other Christian Churches, and religion in general, for the cause of atheist “revolution”. An estimated 45 million people and more were slain out of a programmed hatred and paranoia. The Archpriest Gregory Petroff was a man who lived and died under this madness.
It is said that Fr. Gregory Petroff was murdered while in a prison camp, but not before he was able Ito pen the poignant Akathist of Thanksgiving, giving to the Church and to the world light from great darkness, reminding us that even in the midst of frightful suffering true Christian conviction and courage are unconquerable.
An Excerpt from The Akathist of Thanksgiving, by The Very Reverend Father Gregory Petroff (+1942):
Incorruptible King of all ages, holding in your hand every path of human life through the power of Your saving Providence. We thank you for all the good things You do, those we know and those we don't know, for earthly life and for the heavenly joy of Your Kingdom to come. Hold us in Your mercy now and ever we who sing: Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.
Into the world I was born as a weak, helpless child, but Your Angel spread wings of light over me, guarding my crib. Ever since then Your love lights all my paths, wonderfully guiding me towards the light of eternity. Gloriously, the generous gifts of Your Providence have been manifest from the very first day. I am thankful to You and with all who have come to know You, call out:
Glory to You, Who called me to life,
Glory to You, Who have shown me the beauty of the universe,
Glory to You, Who have opened before me the sky and the earth as an eternal book of wisdom,
Glory to the eternity of You, in the midst of the world of time,
Glory to You, for Your hidden and evident goodness,
Glory to You, for every sigh of my sadness,
Glory to You, for every step of my life, for every moment of joy,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.
Lord, how good it is to be Your guest; the delicately scented wind, the mountains stretching to the sky, the waters reflecting like infinite mirrors, the golden rays of sun, the airiness of clouds. All nature secretly whispers, full of tenderness, and even the birds and beasts bear the mark of Your Love. Blessed is mother earth with her transient beauty, longing for the homeland which is eternal and where an imperishable beauty rings out: Alleluia.
You brought me into this life as into an enchanting paradise. The sky is a deep blue vessel of azure out of which rings the sound of birds; there is the rustling sound of the forest and the sweet sounding music of the waters; the fragrant and sweet fruit and honey which we eat. It is good to be with You on earth, joyous to be Your guest:
Glory to You, for the festival of life,
Glory to You, for the fragrant lilies of the valley and the roses,
Glory to You, for the delectable variety of berries and fruits,
Glory to You, for the morning dew, shining like diamonds,
Glory to You, for the smile of awakening enlightenment,
Glory to You, for all that is heavenly, foreshadowing eternal life,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.
To order a recording or learn more about the Akathist, visit St. Ignatius Church.
To print off daily readings from the Akathist during the Nativity Fast, prepared by Antiochian Women of the East, visit AWE's web page.