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Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
O Lord and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of sloth,
faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity,
humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother,
for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
Holy Week Hymn
"Behold the Bridegroom Comes in the Middle of the Night"
(Parable of the Wise Virgins)
Hymn: "To Thee O Champion" Chanted in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey June 2017
"To Thee, the Champion Leader, we Thy servants dedicate a feast of victory and of thanksgiving as ones rescued out of sufferings, O Theotokos: but as Thou art one with might which is invincible, from all dangers that can be do Thou deliver us, that we may cry to Thee: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!"
History of the Hymn To Thee O Champion
While the Emperor of Byzantium Heracleios was on an expedition to fight the aggression of the Persians on their own grounds, there appeared outside the walls of Constantinople barbaric hordes, mostly Avars. The siege lasted a few months, and it was apparent that the outnumbered troops of the Queen City were reaching desperation. However as history records, the faith of the people worked the impossible. The Venerable Patriarch Sergius with the Clergy and the Official of Byzantium Vonos, endlessly marched along the great walls of Constantinople with an Icon of the Theotokos in hand, and bolstered the faith of the defenders of freedom. The miracle came soon after. Unexpectedly, as the chronicler narrates, a great storm with huge tidal waves destroyed most of the fleet of the enemy, and full retreat ensued. The faithful of Constantinople spontaneously filled the Church of the Theotokos at Vlachernae on the Golden Horn, and with the Patriarch Sergius officiating, they prayed all night singing praises to the Virgin Mary without sitting.
This hymn is part of a larger poetic work called the Akathis Hymn ("without sitting") by St. Romanos known as the "Melodist" who wrote many hymns of the ancient church around the year 500.
Today, the great church of Constantinople is a secular museum in Istanbul, Turkey, where visitors must remain silent. These choir members risked much to sing to this hymn to the Theotokos in the middle of the great city which she defended long ago.