The three Prostration Prayers involve our first kneeling since our Lord’s Resurrection. We do not prostrate during the Holy Fifty Days because prostrations are performed in the spirit of repentance, penitence, and humiliation; instead, our beloved Mother the Church teaches us to be filled with joy for being raised by the Resurrection of our Lord during the Holy Fifty Days. St. Basil the Great teaches that we do not prostrate on such days because we have been made to ‘stand again’ by the Resurrection of Christ, have been recalled to Heaven, and our hearts and minds are to be lifted Heavenwards in prayer, rather than being brought down to earth through our prostrations. He teaches, “On the day of the resurrection we remind ourselves of the grace given to us by standing at prayer, not only because we rose with Christ, and are bound to ‘seek those things which are above’, but because the day seems to us to be in some sense an image of the age which we expect…Of necessity, then, the church teaches her own foster children to offer their prayers on that day standing…to dwell no longer in the present but in the future.”
Returning to Penitence
Having completed the Holy Fifty Days, we return to the sense of penitence and supplication as we kneel before God asking for His mercy and forgiveness of our sins (First Prostration Prayer), to teach us to pray and govern our thoughts (Second Prostration Prayer), and to repose the souls of the departed and to help us complete our days without stumbling (Third Prostration Prayer). During these prayers, we ask for the Divine help of the Holy Spirit as we, the Church, endure the temptations that await us and fulfill our calling as followers of Christ to spread His message of love as we continue our journey with Him.
May the blessings of these prayers be with us through the intercessions and prayers of our beloved Patron Saints, St. Onuphrius the Anchorite, St. Wannas the Martyr, and St. Pope Kyrillos VI, and through the prayers of our beloved Bishop His Grace Anba Mina.