Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Order of Confession (for Orthodox Christians)

My friend over at Little Steps Home could not find this and I thought I'd post it here for her:

While the Penitent is waiting for the Priest to hear his confessions he says quietly the "Trisagion Prayers" and Psalm 50, if he has time, and then aloud:

I have sinned, O Lord: forgive me. O God, be gracious unto me a sinner.

When the Pentient's turn comes, he goes forward and kneels (or stands in front of the icon of Christ) in the proper place and says aloud:

O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I confess to thee all the hidden and open sins of my heart and mind, which I have committed unto this present day; wherefore I beg of thee, the righteous and compassionate Judge, remission of sins and grace to sin no more.

Then the Priest says in a kindly voice:

My brother, inasmuch as thou hast come to God, and to me, be not ashamed; for thou speakest not unto me, but unto God, before whom thou standest.

The Priest questions the penitent concerning his sins, and the questioning finished, he says these words:

My spiritual child, who hast confessed to my humble self, I, humble and a sinner, have not power on earth to forgive sins, but God alone; yet through that divinely spoken word which came to the Apostles after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, saying: Whosoeever sins ye remit, they are remitted, and whosoever sins we retain, they are retained, we too are emboldened to say: Whatsoever thou hast said to my most humble self, and whatsoever thou hast not succeeded in saying, either through ignorance or though forgetfulness, Whatever it may be: God forgive thee in this present world, and in that which is to come.

And the Priest adds this Prayer, making the sign of the Cross over the Penitent (here the priest drapes his stole over the penitent's head for this final prayer):

God it was who forgave David through Nathan the Prophet, when he confessed his sins, and Peter weeping bitterly for his denial, and the sinful woman in tears at his feet, ad the Public, and the Prodigal Son: May that same God forgive thee all things, though me a sinner, both in this present world, and in that which is to come, adn set thee uncondemned before his dread Judgment Seat.

And the Priest adds: And now having no further care for the sins which thou has declared, depart in peace.

Then the Priest allows the Penitent to depart with this blessing:

May Christ our true God, through the prayers of his most holy Mother and of all the Saints, have mercy upon us and save us, forasmuch as he is good and lovest mankind. Amen.

--quoted from a Pocket Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians, published by the Antiochian Archdiocese. Words in parenthesis are my own additions.

3 comments:

Amber said...

I said it before, but it bears repeating.

Thank you!

You are the best! :)

elizabeth said...

I remember reading this...

Confession is such a gift from God and His Church...

I really appreciate how confession can be done using this 'order of confession' or not using it... I have done both as I used to go to an Antiochian church ... and really appreciate priests who guide us.

We are so blessed.

Alana said...

Yes, that's true, Elizabeth. I personally prefer to use it, but my current priest is a bit less "formal", and I have to go with how he does things.