Archive for December 22nd, 2008

Prayers By the Lake – St. Nikolai of Zicha

December 22, 2008



Accept the sacrifice of my words, my Father — accept the babbling of a penitent child, my Father!

Correct my words with Your truth, and accept them on the footstool of Your feet.

 Cense my sacrifice with the fragrant incense of a saint’s prayer and do not reject it, O Triradiate Master of worlds.

 The ranks of angels offer You a more eloquent sacrifice, but their words stream to them from You, and return to You, untainted by the repulsiveness of darkness and not throttled in the throat by sin.

I am poor, and I have nothing else to offer on Your sacrificial altar except these words.

Even if I were to offer up creatures to You, I would be offering up words. For what are creatures except words. You have filled the entire universe with tongues, which are flames when they lift up praise to You and water — when they whisper Your praises to themselves.

Even if I were to offer up a lamb to You, I would be offering You a word.

Even if I were to offer up a bird to You, I would be offering You a word.

Why should I offer up someone else’s word to my Lord, why someone else’s and not my own?

Who has made me master over someone else’s life and someone else’s song, over someone else’s flame and someone else’s sacrifice; who?

My words are my life and my song, my flame and my sacrifice. I have taken from what is Yours and am offering it up to You — accept it and do not reject it, O Mother plenteous in lovingkindness.

I have picked a handful of wheat out of a field of tares, accept even a single kernel of wheat out of my handful and You will make me happy.1

From a single kernel You can bake bread, enough for nations.

Accept my mite, O Son Who Resurrects, accept and do not reject the mite of a pauper.2

Accept my sacrifice not for my sake but for the sake of someone who is even more impoverished than I; is there such a person?

Someone who does not even have what I do, for his sake accept my sacrifice; does such a person exist?

The world squeezed me like an accordion, scarcely did I take a breath and I moaned. Let Your angels give melody to my moaning and let them offer it up before You, my love.

I remind myself of all the blessings You have bestowed on me during my lifetime, my unfailing Companion, and I am offering up to You a gift in return from myself.

I am not offering up to You my entire self, for I am not entirely worthy to burn on Your most pure sacrificial altar. I cannot offer as a sacrifice to the Immortal One what is intended for death and corruption.

I offer up to You only that which has grown within me under Your light, that which was saved in me by Your Word.

Accept the sacrifice of my words, O Triune Bouquet of Flowers; accept the babbling of a new-born child.

When the choirs of angels begin to sing around Your throne, when the archangels’ trumpets begin to blare, when Your martyrs begin to weep for joy, and Your saints begin to sob their prayers for the salvation of the Church on earth, do not despise the sacrifice of my words, O Lord my God.

Do not mishear, but hear.

I pray to You and bow down to You, now and throughout all time, and throughout all eternity. Amen.

Written at Lake Ohrid 1921-1922.


1.          Cf. Matt. 13:24-3O.

2.          Cf. Mark 12:41-44.