The Prayer of Manasseh is from the Ecclesiastical books (or Apocrypha).  It serves as an appendix to 2 Chronicles, elaborating on the reference to King Manasseh’s prayer of repentance in chapter 33, and has been used in Byzantine and Mozaribic liturgies during Lent.  It was shortened for use as a Canticle in the 1979 Book, recommended as the first Canticle in Morning Prayer for Sundays and Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent, and the first Canticle in Evening Prayer on Mondays in Lent.

This Canticle omits the Gloria Patri, as it did in 1979.  There was a practice in Western liturgy, before the Reformation, of omitting the Gloria Patri during Holy Week or at other penitential times.  Because Kyrie Patokrator is a penitential Canticle, it is appropriate not to append it with the Gloria Patri.

O Lord and Ruler of the hosts of heaven,* God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,  and of all their righteous offspring:
You made the heavens and the earth, * with all their vast array.
All things quake with fear at your presence; * they tremble because of your power.
But your merciful promise is beyond all measure; * it surpasses all that our minds can fathom.
O Lord, you are full of compassion, *     long-suffering, and abounding in mercy.
You hold back your hand; * you do not punish as we deserve.
In your great goodness, Lord, you have promised forgiveness to sinners, * that they may repent of their sin and be saved.
And now, O Lord, I bend the knee of my heart, * and make my appeal, sure of your gracious goodness.
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, * and I know my wickedness only too well.
Therefore I make this prayer to you: * Forgive me, Lord, forgive me.
Do not let me perish in my sin, * nor condemn me to the depths of the earth.
For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent, * and in me you will show forth your goodness.
Unworthy as I am, you will save me, in accordance with your great mercy, * and I will praise you without ceasing all the days of my life.
For all the powers of heaven sing your praises, * and yours is the glory to ages of ages. Amen.

As with Canticle 2 , this Canticle is shortened from its original chapter form.  Also some of the hyperbolic language of the Prayer of Manasseh is toned down so as not to confuse the worshiper unfamiliar with the context of the original text.  Kyrie Pantokrator in particular, among all the Canticles in this Prayer Book, is a marvelous offering of penitential worship.  In this age where so many run fast and loose with sin, the strong language of condemnation and here do us a world of spiritual good.  We deserve punishment, but God is a merciful God who promises forgiveness.  We must bent the knee of our hearts, making our appeal, knowing our wickedness only too well.  Although we don’t deserve it, God is the God of those who repent, and thus the penitent is set upon a trajectory of eternal gratitude, to praise God without ceasing for ever.

One thought on “On Canticle 3: Kyrie Pantokrator

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