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The ancient kingdom of Armenia was the first country to become Christian, and it recognizes Gregory as its apostle. When he was still an infant, Gregory’s father assassinated the King of Parthia, and friends of the family carried Gregory away for protection to Caesarea in Cappadocia, where he was reared as a Christian. About 280 he returned to Armenia, and it was sometime between 288 and 301 that St. Gregory the Illuminator, who had been subjected to cruel tortures and incarcerated in a deep well for 13 years for refusing to participate in pagan rites, converted King Tiridates. In 302, St. Gregory was ordained bishop, and in 303 he founded the Cathedral of Etchmiadzin, near Mount Ararat, which, to this day, is the seat of the supreme patriarch or catholicos, the head of the Armenian Church. St. Gregory went on to evangelize several other Caucasian nations and baptized the kings of Iberia (Georgia), Lazes and Albania. Sometime before his death he retired to a solitary life in the wilderness. The patron saint of Armenia, he is now venerated in both the Eastern and Latin Church.
Jesus said: “If any of you would come after me, deny yourself
and take up your cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34
Let us confess our sins to God.
God of all mercy,
we confess that we have sinned against you,
opposing your will in our lives.
We have denied your goodness in each other,
in ourselves, and in the world you have created.
We repent of the evil that enslaves us,
the evil we have done,
and the evil done on our behalf.
Forgive, restore, and strengthen us
through our Savior Jesus Christ,
that we may abide in your love
and serve only your will. Amen.
Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.
O God, let our mouth proclaim your praise.
And your glory all the day long.
Venite Psalm 95:1-7
Come, let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, *
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, *
and his hands have molded the dry land.
Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. *
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!
1 Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous; *
it is good for the just to sing praises.
2 Praise the Lord with the harp; *
play to him upon the psaltery and lyre.
3 Sing for him a new song; *
sound a fanfare with all your skill upon the trumpet.
4 For the word of the Lord is right, *
and all his works are sure.
5 He loves righteousness and justice; *
the loving-kindness of the Lord fills the whole earth.
6 By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, *
by the breath of his mouth all the heavenly hosts.
7 He gathers up the waters of the ocean as in a water-skin *
and stores up the depths of the sea.
8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; *
let all who dwell in the world stand in awe of him.
9 For he spoke, and it came to pass; *
he commanded, and it stood fast.
10 The Lord brings the will of the nations to naught; *
he thwarts the designs of the peoples.
11 But the Lord’s will stands fast for ever, *
and the designs of his heart from age to age.
12 Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord! *
happy the people he has chosen to be his own!
13 The Lord looks down from heaven, *
and beholds all the people in the world.
14 From where he sits enthroned he turns his gaze *
on all who dwell on the earth.
15 He fashions all the hearts of them *
and understands all their works.
16 There is no king that can be saved by a mighty army; *
a strong man is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The horse is a vain hope for deliverance; *
for all its strength it cannot save.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him, *
on those who wait upon his love,
19 To pluck their lives from death, *
and to feed them in time of famine.
20 Our soul waits for the Lord; *
he is our help and our shield.
21 Indeed, our heart rejoices in him, *
for in his holy Name we put our trust.
22 Let your loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, *
as we have put our trust in you.
Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, ‘Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said,
“For we too are his offspring.”
Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’
Canticle 10 The Second Song of Isaiah Quaerite Dominum
Seek the Lord while he wills to be found; *
call upon him when he draws near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways *
and the evil ones their thoughts;
And let them turn to the Lord, and he will have compassion, *
and to our God, for he will richly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, *
nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, *
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as rain and snow fall from the heavens *
and return not again, but water the earth,
Bringing forth life and giving growth, *
seed for sowing and bread for eating,
So is my word that goes forth from my mouth; *
it will not return to me empty;
But it will accomplish that which I have purposed, *
and prosper in that for which I sent it.
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, ‘Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
‘No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.’
Canticle 16 The Song of Zechariah Benedictus Dominus Deus
Luke 1: 68-79
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
that he would save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers *
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham, *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth;
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Hear our cry, O God.
And listen to our prayer.
Let us pray.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.
V. Show us your mercy, O Lord;
R. And grant us your salvation.
V. Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
R. Let your people sing with joy.
V. Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
R. For only in you can we live in safety.
V. Lord, keep this nation under your care;
R. And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
V. Let your way be known upon earth;
R. Your saving health among all nations.
V. Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
R. Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
V. Create in us clean hearts, O God;
R. And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.
Almighty God, who raised up your servant Gregory to be a light in the world, and to preach the Gospel to the people of Armenia: Illuminate our hearts, that we also in our own generation may show forth your praise, who called us out of darkness and into your marvelous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
We name now our prayers of intercession, silently or aloud.
(Time for prayers is observed.)
We bring these prayers to you, God, in the confidence of your loving care for all of creation and with praise and thanksgiving for your steadfast faithfulness to us. Amen.
A Prayer of St. Chrysostom:
Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Daily Morning Prayer for Wednesday, March 23 was prepared by Hope Laingen, postulant for the diaconate from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia