One of the joys of the Great Fast has been knowing that a group of parishioners and friends of the community have been reading the entire Psalter of the Holy, Righteous King and Prophet David each day, joining prayers for the parish and for their personal intentions to this spiritual-offering.
In our East Slavic tradition, each of the twenty kathismas of the Psalter has appended penitential troparia and a prayer for use in the monastic cell or Christian home, as well as introductory and concluding prayers – so, with this in mind, our parishioners praying the psalms in English have taken advantage of the Jordanville ‘Psalter for Prayer’, which has these additional spiritual-materials.
Whilst Sequential Psalters printed in Russia and Ukraine have such hymns and prayers, English language translations which follow the Greek tradition usually do not, though troparia and prayers are used in Byzantine monastic praxis – but with differing hymns and prayers. Those of Old Rite Slavonic Psalters also differ from those used in the New Rite.
With some flexibility, some of our parishioners and friends have incorporated the Psalter-readings into their morning or evening prayers, but however the psalms have been read, they have brought spiritual strength and encouragement to those sharing the task.
The psalms, of course, are at the heart of Orthodox Christian worship, and their challenging moral and spiritual lessons call us to repentance, attentiveness and action: to turn to God and His abiding presence with those who trust in Him, live in Him and hope in Him.
How wonderful to know that the entire Psalter is read in our scattered community every day, and I hope that this might continue after the Fast!
Holy, Righteous King and Prophet David, pray to God for us!