Tag Archives: Bishop Serapion

In Wonder at the Bishop’s Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, October 6, 2015


In Wonder at the Bishop’s Prayer

I love the written word. I love reading books and writings written centuries ago. Alas, I’m afraid I am less than learned, since I only know English (and modern English, at that). Thankfully for me, many of the books, texts and other writings from centuries long ago have been translated into modern English.

Why did this come up? Today’s prayer is about Blessing and Thanksgiving. The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns ““Hallowed be Thy Name” (Prayer 172, page 64) [1] And, this selection is one of the oldest I’ve come across yet. It’s from the Christian prayer “Bishop Serapion’s Prayer of Oblation,” dated from the 4th century.

I could talk about the background I found out concerning this bishop of Thmuis in lower Egypt, how he was a friend of St. Athanasius, and how he wrote (or, edited) a Prayer Book, or Sacramentarium. (All of which I found fascinating!) However—I want to dive straight into the prayer of Oblation.

Dear “Father of Jesus Christ,” how awe-inspiring to refer to You as “uncreated, unsearchable, ineffable.” These words make me want to hide my face the way Isaiah did in Isaiah 6. (Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts.)

Dear Lord Jesus, “Only Son,” you “proclaim and explain” Your Heavenly Father to us “created beings.”

Oh, yes. I know that I am only Your creation; I know that full well! And, what is the most earth-shaking thing of all? You “seek reconciliation with all men and draw them all to You by sending Your dear Son to visit them.”

Good God. How on earth am I ever to respond to such a gracious and merciful act? Such a loving and generous gift? Dear Lord, You sent Your dear Son to earth—to us—to visit us. Why? To “seek reconciliation.” To draw us from afar, to heal the pain and separation.

Such knowledge is almost too much for me . . . All I can say is “thank You.” And, praise to Your name. Amen, Lord. Amen.


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[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 64.