Special service in Amsterdam for the Increase of Love

Last night (3 March 2014) there was a special moleben (service of supplication) at St Nicholas of Myra Russian Orthodox Church in Amsterdam for peace between Russia and Ukraine. The special prayers were taken from the attached Service for the Increase of Love and the Uprooting of Hatred and All Animosity.

Here is a summary of what was said at the end of the service by the rector of the parish, Fr Sergei Ovsiannikov:

Recently I heard this explanation of how evil happens. It is when two people, each convinced he is acting for a just cause, attack each other. We seek mercy from heaven, but we in this world seek justice by ourselves.

There is no war in which people on one side consider themselves unjust. People always are convinced that their side is the just side and that their going to war is justified and necessary.

The only way to peace is to make peace in your heart — in each heart and in all our hearts. That is what we are trying to do now.

A hundred years ago, in 1914, the First World War was started. Perhaps you remember how it happened. On the 28th of June, one good man, an Orthodox man, a Serbian man, decided to seek justice, and so he killed another man, Archduke Ferdinand. That was the beginning of the First World War. And when that first war finished, in 1918, it was not really the end because soon the Second World War began — a direct continuation of the First World War.

Let me share with you a quotation: “We must defend our people, we must defend our brothers and sisters. They are suffering in another country, but it is our nation, our people. Our people are suffering.” Who do you think said these words? It was Hitler. It was in a speech he gave in the Reichstag, the German parliament. It was his justification for starting the Second World War.

The terrible thing is that we hear this words again and again and we don’t recognize them. We hear them once again and we think perhaps it is true — people are suffering and they need us to make justice. And in this way war begins once again.

The only chance we have is to ask God for a miracle, a miracle in our hearts that can prevent a new war. That is why we are here praying together. Let us pray, and keep on praying. Please pray.

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A Service for the Increase of Love and the Uprooting of Hatred and All Animosity

At the Proskomedia:

O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, Who gavest a new commandment to Thy disciples, that they should love one another: Accept this offering for the remission of all the sins of Thy right-believing servants And by Thy Holy Spirit renew love for Thy goodness and for neighbor, which has waxed cold in us. Do Thou establish this with strength in our hearts, that, fulfilling Thy commandments, we seek not on earth our own ends, but that which is to Thy glory, the building up of our neighborhood, and for salvation.

At the Beginning of the Divine Liturgy:

At the Great Litany, after the petition “For travelers by land, by sea, and by air…”, the following are added:

That we may be cleansed of our sins and transgressions which have dried up in us love for Him and for our neighbor, and that it may be established by the power, action and grace of His Most-holy Spirit, and rooted in all our hearts, earnestly let us pray to the Lord.

That there may be planted and rooted in us by the grace of His Most-holy Spirit the new commandment of His New Testament: that we love one another, and not merely satisfy ourselves, but rather always strive for His glory and the building-up of our neighbor, let us pray to the Lord.

That there may be uprooted in us hatred, envy and jealousy and all other passions which destroy brotherly love, and that there may be planted unfeigned love, fervently let us pray to the Lord.

That there may be kindled in us the fervent love of God and our neighbor by the grace of His Most-holy Spirit, and thus burn out to the very roots the passions of all our souls and bodies, let us pray to the Lord.

That there may be uprooted in us the passions of self-love, and rooted instead the virtue of brotherly love by the power of His Most-holy Spirit, with broken and contrite hearts let us pray to the Lord.

That we may not love the world and that which is in the world, but rather have true love for God and His glory, and that we may love that which is profitable and for the salvation of our neighbor, so that we may ever gaze on the good things prepared in heaven, and that we may seek these with all our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

That truly we may love, not just our friends and brothers, but also our enemies, and do that which is good to those who hate us, with the power, action and grace of His Most- holy Spirit moving us, let us pray to the Lord.

That we may examine ourselves, condemn ourselves, and ever looking upon our own transgressions, humble ourselves before God and before everyone, never judging our brother, but loving him as our very self, by the power, action and grace of His Most- holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.

That we may imitate the burning love of the Christian in ancient times for God and neighbor, and that we may be their heirs and successors, not only in image, but in true action, by the power, action and grace of the Most-holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.

That He may keep us immovable in the True Faith, in peace and the unity of burning love, increasing in all virtues, and preserve us unharmed from all soul-corrupting passions, by the power, action and grace of the Most-holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.

After the Entrance:

These are sung to established order together with the appointed Troparia and Kontakia:
Troparion, TONE 4: Thou didst bind Thine Apostles in the bonds of love, O Christ, and hast firmly bound us, Thy faithful servants, to Thyself, that we may fulfil Thy commandments and have unfeigned love for one another, through the prayed of the Theotokos, O Only Lover of Mankind.

Kontakion, TONE 5: Kindle our hearts with the flames of love for Thee, O Christ God, that being inflames by this, in heart, mind and soul, we may love Thee with all out strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, and that keeping Thy commandments, we may glorify Thee the Giver of all good.

Prokeimenon, TONE 7: I will love Thee, O Lord, my Strength; the Lord is my Foundation. (17:2-3)

Vs. My God is my Helper, and I will hope in Him. (17:3)

Epistle from the First Catholic Epistle of John (periscopes 72 & 73 – I John 3:10-24)

Alleluia, TONE 8: O love the Lord, all you His saints. (30:24)

Vs. For the Lord requires truth; and unto them that act proudly, He will repay abundantly. (30:24)

Gospel: John 46 (John 13:31-35)

After the Gospel:

At the Augmented Litany the following petitions are added:

O Lord our God, in Thy mercy, as Thou art good, look down upon the ground of our heart in which love has dried up, cruelly overgrown with the thorns of hatred, self- love, and innumerable transgressions. And as Thou art the Source of all good, fervently we entreat Thee: having released a drop of the grace of Thy Most-holy Spirit, richly bedew it that it may bear fruit, and make it increase, out of burning love for Thee, the root of all virtues—the fear of Thee—as also vigilant solicitude for the salvation of our neighbor, and the uprooting of all passions, evils of various forms, and hypocrisy, and as the Lover of Mankind quickly hearken and have mercy.

O Master Who gavest a new commandment to Thy disciples that they should love one another, renew this by the grace of Thy Most-holy Spirit acting in our souls and hearts, that we will never become selfish, but always endeavor to please Thee and strive for the salvation of our neighbor and pay close attention to that which is beneficial, we pray Thee, the merciful Giver of all that is good, hearken and mercifully have mercy.

Thou gavest the first and greatest commandment, that we should love Thee, our God and Creator, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and a second, like it, that we should love our neighbor as ourselves, and that on both of these hangs the Law and the Prophets. Having taught us to fulfil these commandments in deed, convince all of us by the grace of Thy Most-holy Spirit, that pleasing Thee, our Savior, through the salvation of our neighbor, we may receive Thy promised blessings, for, fervently falling down before Thee, our Master and Savior, we beseech Thee, quickly hearken and mercifully have mercy.

That we may be perfected in Thy love, O our God, constrain us, by the grace of Thy Spirit, O Master, to have sincerely love for our neighbor. For, to suppose that we have love for Thee, but hate our brother, is a lie and to walk in darkness. Therefore, O Merciful One, that there be kindled in our souls and hearts love for Thee and our brother, we pray Thee, as Thou art merciful, quickly hearken, and as Thou art compassionate, have mercy.

O All-compassionate Lord, by the Grace of Thy Most-holy Spirit, establish in us Thy love, that we may truly love, not only our brothers and friends, but, according to Thy divine command, our enemies, as well, and do good to those who hate us, striving sincerely for their salvation, we pray Thee, O Wellspring of Good and Abyss of Love for Mankind, quickly hearken, and, as Thou are tenderhearted, have mercy.

Communion Hymn:

The Lord said, A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Source: http://eadiocese.org/News/2014/march/increaseoflove.en.pdf

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