Wednesday of the Fifth Week 


O my soul, you have left the heights of virtue and have gone down into the abyss of sin. You have fallen under the blows of the evil robbers, you are covered with wounds; but now cry out to Christ our God, who let himself be wounded and crucified for you: Come to my help, O Savior, and save me.

Wounded by thieves of the soul, how miserable I am! O Lord, I am left half-dead. The rank of prophets passes me by, seeing me close to death, incurable through human knowledge, and in bitter suffering. In the humility of my heart, I cry out to you: O Christ our God most merciful, anoint me with the oil of your mercy.


Beaten in spirit and robbed of my mind, I fell among corruptible thieves, who steal away my power to think. My soul has been scourged, and I lie on the path of life stripped of all virtue. A priest sees that I suffer from incurable sores, but passes by without a second glance. A Levite, not wanting to share my deadly pain, looks down on me and also passes by. But you, O Christ our God, though born of Mary and not as a Samaritan, grant me healing because of your love for humankind, and pour out the riches of your mercy upon us.


In the fifth week of the Great Fast, we chant the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. This long poem recounts, though stories from Scripture, the many ways we “have gone down into the abyss of sin.” There is no way to rationalize our sinful ways, so the samohlasens remind that we are “incurable through human knowledge,” that we have been robbed of “our power to think.” We cannot pull ourselves up by our own cleverness and worldly wisdom, but only by the wisdom of God, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. The refrain of all the hymns this week repeat in various expressions: “Come to my help, O Savior, and save me.”

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras