Psalm 103

Psalm 103 Ο Προοιμιακός (Introductory Psalm read at Vespers)   The start of the Psalm provides us with a description of God’s Creation, and through it, revealing His might and glory. We read of clouds, winds, waters and mountains, all highlighting God’s glory and contrasting small humanity against His greatness and magnitude. But that is not the only image the Psalm projects. Subsequent verses provide a softer image of the Lord’s greatness through all the beautiful elements of Creation such as grasses, springs and trees. There are birds singing and an “earth that is satisfied with the fruit of your [...]

By |2017-12-08T09:57:34+11:00December 8th, 2017|Comments Off on Psalm 103

Psalm 50

Psalm 50   Psalm 50 (English Bibles, 51) is the only Psalm prescribed to be recited in its entirety during every celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Whether in the Liturgy of St Basil or St John Chrysostom, it is the prayer of a murderer and adulterer that the Priest must pray when the congregation commences chanting the Cherubic Hymn in preparation for the Great Entrance of the Holy Gifts. It is a Psalm in which, using the words of that great sinner David, one prays for God’s Holy Spirit, mercy and forgiveness. It is this strong sense of the presence [...]

By |2017-07-16T03:26:24+10:00July 16th, 2017|Comments Off on Psalm 50

“My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God” (Ps 84:3)

«ἡ καρδία μου καὶ ἡ σάρξ μου ἠγαλλιάσαντο ἐπὶ Θεὸν ζῶντα» (Ψαλμ. ΠΓ᾽ 3) “My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God” (Ps 84:3) It is said that David composed this Psalm in the desert beyond the Jordan. He was there because he was being pursued by his son Absalom after having been betrayed by his counsellor Ahithophel. We therefore have David searching for God in the desert. It was adopted later by pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem, so it has become the par excellence Psalm of pilgrimage. The Psalm speaks of an immediate relationship with the Lord. [...]

By |2017-06-19T16:57:49+10:00April 19th, 2017|Comments Off on “My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God” (Ps 84:3)

Psalm 135

Psalm 135 Ἐξομολογεῖσθε τῷ Κυρίῳ Give Thanks to the Lord Because the line “for His mercy endured forever” appears in each of its twenty-six verses, this Psalm, along with Psalm 134, is known in Orthodox worship as the polyeleion or “manifold mercy”. It starts with three introductory verses, as St Jerome states: 'Give thanks to the Lord of lords' refers to the Son. The 'God of Gods' to the Father. We give thanks, therefore to the Father and to the Son.’ After these verses that call for the praise of God, one may distinguish three stanzas in this Psalm. Stanza [...]

By |2017-03-19T20:32:01+11:00December 19th, 2016|Comments Off on Psalm 135

Psalm 118 (119 in Greek)

Psalm 118 (119 in Greek)   The longest of all the Psalms is Psalm 118, consisting of twenty-two stanzas of eight lines each. Every verse in each stanza begins with the same letter of the alphabet. There is a tradition that King David used this Psalm to teach his young son Solomon the alphabet - but not just the alphabet for writing letters: the alphabet of the spiritual life. The Psalm comprises an entire Kathisma (division of the Psalter) in Orthodox liturgical practice. In Orthodox monasteries it is read daily at the Midnight Office: “At midnight I arose to give [...]

By |2017-03-06T10:58:07+11:00October 6th, 2016|Comments Off on Psalm 118 (119 in Greek)