Sneaking Glory into the Gulag

Siberian work camp. Taken from netdna-cdn.com

Happy Bright Monday of the Easter Octave– the day God laughed!

I felt compelled to share with you a magnificent liturgical hymn, called the “Akathist of Thanksgiving” — akathist is a prayer offered standing, and literally means “not-sitting.” It was written by Metropolitan Tryphon of Turkestan (1861-1934), and — as a hymn of joyful hope — spiritually supported countless Christians under the “Soviet yoke” during the decades of violent persecution of believers. As historian Alexander Schmemann said it, this prayer was “considered divine revelation” and incorporated into the Divine Liturgy. One of the most beloved Russian New Martyrs – the Archpriest St. Gregory Petroff (+1942) – loved the Akathist, and it was found after his death in the Gulag among his few belongings. Tryphon was, on account of his eloquence, often called the “Moscow Chrysostom.”

May we all, this Octave of Easter joy, permit Christ to fill us with such unfettered joy.

It’s a long hymn (actually, I edited over half of it out — here’s the whole thing). I encourage you to pray it aloud. I like to pray a stanza over and over for a day.

Glory to Thee for calling me into being
Glory to Thee, showing me the beauty of the universe
Glory to Thee, spreading out before me heaven and earth
Like the pages in a book of eternal wisdom
Glory to Thee for Thine eternity in this fleeting world
Glory to Thee for Thy mercies, seen and unseen
Glory to Thee through every sigh of my sorrow
Glory to Thee for every step of my life’s journey
For every moment of glory
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee for the Feast Day of life
Glory to Thee for the perfume of lilies and roses
Glory to Thee for each different taste of berry and fruit
Glory to Thee for the sparkling silver of early morning dew
Glory to Thee for the joy of dawn’s awakening
Glory to Thee for the new life each day brings
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee, bringing from the depth of the earth an endless variety of colours, tastes and scents
Glory to Thee for the warmth and tenderness of the world of nature
Glory to Thee for the numberless creatures around us
Glory to Thee for the depths of Thy wisdom, the whole world a living sign of it
Glory to Thee; on my knees, I kiss the traces of Thine unseen hand
Glory to Thee, enlightening us with the clearness of eternal life
Glory to Thee for the hope of the unutterable, imperishable beauty of immortality
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee at the hushed hour of nightfall
Glory to Thee, covering the earth with peace
Glory to Thee for the last ray of the sun as it sets
Glory to Thee for sleep’s repose that restores us
Glory to Thee for Thy goodness even in the time of darkness
When all the world is hidden from our eyes
Glory to Thee for the prayers offered by a trembling soul
Glory to Thee for the pledge of our reawakening
On that glorious last day, that day which has no evening
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee, ceaselessly watching over me
Glory to Thee for the encounters Thou dost arrange for me
Glory to Thee for the love of parents, for the faithfulness of friends
Glory to Thee for the humbleness of the animals which serve me
Glory to Thee for the unforgettable moments of life
Glory to Thee for the heart’s innocent joy
Glory to Thee for the joy of living
Moving and being able to return Thy love
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee, the highest peak of men’s dreaming
Glory to Thee for our unquenchable thirst for communion with God
Glory to Thee, making us dissatisfied with earthly things
Glory to Thee, turning on us Thine healing rays
Glory to Thee, subduing the power of the spirits of darkness
And dooming to death every evil
Glory to Thee for the signs of Thy presence
For the joy of hearing Thy voice and living in Thy love
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee, showing Thine unsurpassable power in the laws of the universe
Glory to Thee, for all nature is filled with Thy laws
Glory to Thee for what Thou hast revealed to us in Thy mercy
Glory to Thee for what Thou hast hidden from us in Thy wisdom
Glory to Thee for the inventiveness of the human mind
Glory to Thee for the dignity of man’s labour
Glory to Thee for the tongues of fire that bring inspiration
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee, satisfying my desires with good things
Glory to Thee, watching over me day and night
Glory to Thee, curing affliction and emptiness with the healing flow of time
Glory to Thee, no loss is irreparable in Thee, Giver of eternal life to all
Glory to Thee, making immortal all that is lofty and good
Glory to Thee, promising us the longed-for meeting with our loved ones who have died
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee, transfiguring our lives with deeds of love
Glory to Thee, making wonderfully Sweet the keeping of Thy commandments
Glory to Thee, making Thyself known where man shows mercy on his neighbour
Glory to Thee, sending us failure and misfortune that we may understand the sorrows of others
Glory to Thee, rewarding us so well for the good we do
Glory to Thee, welcoming the impulse of our heart’s love
Glory to Thee, raising to the heights of heaven every act of love in earth and sky
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee for every happening
Every condition Thy providence has put me in
Glory to Thee for what Thou speakest to me in my heart
Glory to Thee for what Thou revealest to me, asleep or awake
Glory to Thee for scattering our vain imaginations
Glory to Thee for raising us from the slough of our passions through suffering
Glory to Thee for curing our pride of heart by humiliation
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee for the unquenchable fire of Thy Grace
Glory to Thee, building Thy Church, a haven of peace in a tortured world
Glory to Thee for the life-giving water of Baptism in which we find new birth
Glory to Thee, restoring to the penitent purity white as the lily
Glory to Thee for the cup of salvation and the bread of eternal joy
Glory to Thee for exalting us to the highest heaven
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee, giving us light
Glory to Thee, loving us with love so deep, divine and infinite
Glory to Thee, blessing us with light, and with the host of angels and saints
Glory to Thee, Father all-holy, promising us a share in Thy Kingdom
Glory to Thee, Holy Spirit, life-giving Sun of the world to come
Glory to Thee for all things, Holy and most merciful Trinity
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Glory to Thee for calling me into being
Glory to Thee, showing me the beauty of the universe
Glory to Thee, spreading out before me heaven and earth
Like the pages in a book of eternal wisdom
Glory to Thee for Thine eternity in this fleeting world
Glory to Thee for Thy mercies, seen and unseen
Glory to Thee through every sigh of my sorrow
Glory to Thee for every step of my life’s journey
For every moment of glory
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

4 comments on “Sneaking Glory into the Gulag

  1. Melanie Statom says:

    – Thank You for your post!….I was introduced to this most beautiful prayer ( sung below) while painting my first icon ( Rublev’s Trinity

    – Akathist of Thanksgiving – Glory to God for All Thing – YouTube ▶ 23:55www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8ArCrMzd3wJul 27, 2014 – Uploaded by St. Nicholas Barbertonhttp://www.stnickbyz.com – The Akathist of Thanksgiving, which is also … Akathist Hymn served by Metropolitan Kallistos, Walsingham 2011  …  Friday, May 1, 2015 10:01 PM, Neal Obst

  2. LP says:

    Thank you so much Dr Tom for sharing such a beautiful prayer.

    One of our “older” parishioners often told me that we do not praise God enough – we get so busy with petition that praise gets sidetracked. I thought of her with fondness when praying this hymn.

    It also called to mind an acronym that I have been using in my prayers – PACT. Every time we pray we make a pact with God and we
    P – praise Him (first of all)
    A – ask for what we and others need
    C – confess our shortcomings and seek forgiveness
    T – thank Him for all His blessings and goodness

    I like to think of this type of prayer as my modern day covenant with God.

    with love, thanks and prayers, LP

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi LP!! I love this acronym and its significance as a pact and covenant itself. I had seen a similar acronym before (ACTS- Adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, supplication) but I think I like PACT better. Hope all is well across the pond. The televised jubilation around the birth of the new princess this morning got me wondering about the birth of Christ and how the heavens must have been ringing with the angels praising and glorifying the newborn king.
      Dr. Tom: I echo LP’s thanks for sharing this beautiful prayer. It was front of mind as I drove to town this morning and took in the natural geological beauty of the exposed rocks into which the road is carved and the swollen estuaries of the magnificent Bay of Fundy. God’s glorious creation right in my front yard. Alleluia!

      +JMJ+

      • J says:

        Oh, I forgot I wanted to say how this reminds me of the prayer of praise from the fiery furnace! That such litanies of praise could spring from and sustain in circumstances of such torment humbles me, amazes me, and reveals a very powerful spiritual weapon. Joyful hope indeed! Glory to God in the highest!

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