June 20, 2023

Homilies on the Litany of Completion of the Divine Liturgy - Continuous Prayer (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Litany of Completion of the Divine Liturgy 
Continuous Prayer
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

During the summer months of the previous year, beloved brethren, in the Sunday Sermons, we analyzed the "Great Litany" of the Divine Liturgy, which are also heard in other services. That is, we referred to the prayers of the Church to God that we address at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy. And this is important, because we must also rationally participate in what is said and done during the Divine Liturgy. Of course, the words of the prayer are not extremely difficult and incomprehensible, since many of them are still used today in communication between us, but they still need some additional explanations.

The Divine Liturgy is the center of our ecclesiastical and spiritual life which is connected to the faith of the Church and the Orthodox preaching. This is the spiritual space in which we must live, move and be inspired by. After all, the Divine Liturgy is a foretaste of the heavenly Divine Liturgy, in which the saints live and will take place eternally after the Second Coming of Christ, when our bodies will also be resurrected. Thus, everything that happens in the Divine Liturgy must be loved by all of us.

In addition to the "Great Litany", which are said at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, we also address the "Litany of Completion" to God. They are called "completion", because they begin with the phrase "Let us complete our entreaty to the Lord". The "Litany of Completion" is said twice: once after the Great Entrance, that is, when the Holy Diskarion and the Holy Chalice are transferred from the Sacred Proskomide [or Prothesis] to the Holy Altar and the "Cherubic Hymn" is chanted, and a second time before we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Our life must be a constant supplication to God, a prayer, because God is our creator, our father, our bridegroom, our brother. He created us, brought us from non-existence to existence, recreated us after our fall, and continues to nourish, vivify, heal, save us. He is our life, our hope and our comfort. And we do not say this from the perspective of other anthropocentric religious systems, but from the perspective of the Church, which is our spiritual family, the spiritual healing center. Therefore, God is our great Father and our excellent healer.

This means that our prayer to God must be continuous, as we say in our worship: "Again and again in peace let us entreat the Lord", and as we hear it in the Litany of Completion: "Let us complete our entreaty to the Lord". And we must pray because we have many problems in our lives and we cannot solve them by ourselves. Furthermore, our prayer must be continuous, because the purpose of our life is very great, to be like God, but our biological life is very short and we cannot respond to this great purpose.

We cannot, beloved brethren, live without God, we cannot rest without the Church, we cannot breathe outside of the Divine Eucharist. Therefore, let us love all ecclesiastical life and enjoy all the beauties of our Orthodox Church.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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