The morning prayer of Saint Gregory Palamas to the Most Holy Theotokos

Virgin, Mistress, Theotokos, you who gave birth to God the Word in the flesh, I know, truly know, that it is not fitting, nor is it proper for me, so corrupt and with defiled eyes, to behold your Icon, the Most Holy, the Ever Virgin, she who possesses a body and soul pure and undefiled, and to kiss it with impure and stained lips, or to pray. For it is just that your purity should cause me, the corrupted one, to be filled with horror and hatred towards myself.

But since God, whom you have given birth to, became man to call sinners to repentance, for this reason I too have dared to approach you with tears, praying. Accept this confession of my many and grievous sins and present it to the Only Begotten Son, your God, entreating Him to show mercy to my wretched and defiled soul. For because of the multitude of my transgressions, I am prevented from seeking Him and asking for forgiveness. Therefore, I place you before me as my advocate and intercessor. For though I have received many and great gifts from my Creator God, I have forgotten them all and, discontented, I, the wretched one, have joined myself with mindless beasts and have become like them. Being poor in good deeds, rich in passions, and filled with shame, lacking divine boldness, condemned by God, I have become a cause of mourning for the Archangels, a source of laughter for demons, and an object of disgust for humans. My conscience reproaches me, I am ashamed of my evil deeds, and being dead before death and self-condemned before judgment, I am laboring in endless despair before the labor itself.

Therefore, I run only to your support, Mistress, Theotokos, I who am indebted with countless talents; I who have squandered the paternal inheritance on indulgences with prostituted women; I who have fornicated more than the prostituted; I who have committed more wickedness than Manasseh; I who have shown more mercilessness than the rich man; I who am a greedy servant, a vessel of evil thoughts, a treasury of ugly and defiled words, estranged from all good deeds. Have mercy on me, the humble one; show compassion towards me, the powerless one. You have great boldness with the One who was born from you. No one has power like you, the Mother of God, for you can do all things, being above all creation, and nothing is impossible for you, only if you will it.

Therefore, do not overlook my tears; do not turn away from my sighs; do not reject the pain of my heart; do not shame my hope in you. But with your prayers as a Mother, compel the uncoerced mercy of your Son, the good and God, to grant me, the wretched and unworthy servant, to regain my former beauty from the beginning and to cast off the horror of passions, to be freed from sin and enslaved to righteousness; to strip off the defilement of carnal sweetness and to be clothed in the holiness of spiritual purity; to die to the world and to live for good deeds.

As I journey, accompany me on my journey; as I swim in the sea, swim with me; strengthen me in my vigil; console me in my distress; encourage me when I am downcast; grant me healing when I am sick; deliver me when I am wronged; set me right when I am afflicted; swiftly rescue me when I am in danger of death; reveal to the unseen enemies, in every day, the fear they should have towards me, the one they unjustly tyrannize, that all may know whose servant I am.

Thus, most gracious Mistress, Theotokos, hear my wretched prayer and do not shame me in my hope in you, who are the hope of all the ends of the earth after God. Quench the burning in my body; calm the fierce storm in my soul; tame the bitter anger; erase from my mind the pride and vanity of empty opinions; diminish the night-time illusions of cunning spirits and the daytime wanderings of impure thoughts in my heart; teach my tongue to speak what is profitable; guide my eyes to see truly good deeds. Direct my feet to run without stumbling on the blessed path of God’s commandments; sanctify my hands to raise them worthily to the Most High Son; cleanse my mouth that I may boldly call God the Dreadful and Most Holy Father; open my ears to hear attentively and thoughtfully the words that are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb of Holy Scripture, and to live according to them, being strengthened by you.

Grant me time for repentance, for a turning of my thoughts; protect me from sudden death; deliver me from the condemnation of conscience. And finally, above all, be with me at the separation of my soul from my wretched body. Ease the unbearable burden, lighten the unspeakable pain, comfort the unsoothed distress, free me from the dark presence of demons, release me from the excessive temptations of the aerial tax collectors and rulers of darkness, tear up the record of my many sins, reconcile me with God, and grant me a place at His right hand, the blessed state, at the fearsome judgement. And make me an heir to the eternal and incorruptible blessings.

This confession I bring to you, my Mistress, Theotokos, the light of my darkened eyes, the comfort of my soul, my helper and hope after God. Accept it gently and cleanse me of all defilement of body and spirit. And make me worthy in this present age to partake without condemnation of the most holy and pure Body and Blood of your Son and God; and in the age to come, with the sweet and heavenly banquet of the delights of Paradise, where the abode of all who rejoice is found. Having obtained these blessings, unworthy as I am, I shall glorify forever and ever the most precious and greatly revered Name of your Son and God, who accepts all who repent with all their souls, because of you, who have become the intercessor and advocate for all sinners. For through you, Most Glorious and Gracious Mistress, the entire human race is saved, praising and blessing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Most Holy and Consubstantial Trinity, now and forever and unto ages of ages. Amen!

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