I mentioned in a previous post that next week I will be in Boston for the Pappas Summer Patristics Institute, which is held at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. One thing I’m looking forward to is getting to attend Vespers while there. A practice that I think my friends in the West have a hard time getting into is venerating icons when one walks into a church. When you enter, you ought to kiss an icon, but do so on the hands or feet and never the face as Judas did. This reminded me of a communion hymn (κοινωνικόν) commonly used in the East:
Τοῦ δείπνου σου τοῦ μυστικοῦ
σήμερον, ὑιὲ θεοῦ,
κοινωνόν με παράλαβε.
οὐ μὴ γὰρ τοῖς ἐχθροῖς σου
τὸ μυστήριον εἴπω,
οὐ φίλημα σοι δώσω
ἀλλ’ ὡς ὁ λῄστης
μνήσθητί μου κύριε
ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ σου.
Receive me today as a companion of your mystical meal, O Son of God,
I have not spoken the mystery to your enemies
I will not give kisses to you as Judas did,
But as the thief I speak in agreement:
‘Remember me, Lord, in your Kingdom’