OF THE ORTHODOX CONFESSION OF THE APOSTOLIC
EASTERN AND UNIVERSAL CHURCH
Q. 1. What is hope?
R. Hope is true confidence in God, inspired by God and without trace of despair of his grace, for the forgiveness of sins and every other request in respect to present goods as well as those to come; the Apostle speaks of it so: "Do not therefore lose your confidence, which has a great reward.'' [l] And elsewhere: "For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope. For what a man sees, why does he hope for? But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience." 
Q. 2. How does man's hope become certain and infallible?
R. Our entire hope is Jesus Christ, as the Apostle says: "According to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus our hope,"  for we received everything through him, even as he himself teaches: "And whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, that will I do; that the Father may be glorified in the Son."  Recognized here also is the grace of God, since it was given through Christ, as Scripture says: "For the law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."  And our entire hope is based on this grace. First, there is the following of God's will, that is, the commandments, for Christ himself says: "He that has my commandments, and keeps them; he it is that loves me. And he that loves me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."  Then through the communion of the holy mysteries of the body and blood of Christ, through which Christ the Lord abides in us, as he says: "He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him."  And then through persevering prayer, as the Apostle teaches: "Is any of you sad? Let him pray."  And in another way: "But you, my beloved, building yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto life everlasting." 
Q. 3. What must be considered in order to understand this second part of the Confession?
R. It would seem to be appropriate to consider the Lord's Prayer and the nine beatitudes, since we are obliged to beg God with faith and hope, which things he certainly will give us, as the Apostle says: "He is faithful who called you, who also will do it.''  But, concerning the beatitudes, we also strive for them through hope, by following the virtues with hope of attaining the promised blessings.
Q. 4. What is prayer?
R. Prayer is petition directed to God from fervent faith and hope of receiving the things according to his will; or, prayer is the raising of our mind and will to God, in which we either praise God, or ask him or give thanks for blessings.
Q. 5. What first must be done before man comes to perform his prayer?
R. It ought to be known that prayers are three-fold. First, there is the one by which we thank God for his blessings, as Israel did for the deliverance from Egypt; we also are obliged to always do this for all the blessings of God, most of all that we have been freed from the enemy of our soul, as the Apostle says: "Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all."  And elsewhere: "I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus."  Still elsewhere: "Giving thanks to God the Father, who made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light, who delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.'  The second is that prayer through which we ask God to forgive us our sins, so that he may even overlook our punishment, and pour upon us the gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to the need of our soul and our temporal life. And we perform this prayer for ourselves and our neighbors, as the Apostle says: "Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding."  The third prayer is that by which we glorify the Lord God because of his unattainable majesty and eternal glory, as the Psalm reads: "Every day will I bless you and I will praise your name for ever, yea, for ever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and of his greatness there is no end. Generation and generation shall praise your works and they shall declare your power."  The Great Doxology (l) particularly expresses this prayer, which we read or sing in church each day.
Q. 6. Which things are still necessary for prayer?
R. Appropriate preparation, so that we might perform our prayer sensibly and devoutly, as the Apostle teaches: "Denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and justly, and godly in this world."  And with sorrow of heart, as the Apostle teaches: "Let the Word of the Lord dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God."  Also, without anger and any ill-will, according to the saying: "But if you will not forgive men their sins, neither will your Father forgive you your offenses.  We should even entreat him who is angry with us, as Sacred Scripture teaches: "If therefore you offer your gift at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has anything against you, leave there your offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to your brother, and then coming you shall offer your gift.  We should exclude all other thoughts when we pray, so that the prayer may be pure and pleasing to God, lest it be said of us: "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."  And let the Psalmist's words be not known of us: "And may his prayer be turned to sin."
Q. 7. What is the Lord's Prayer?
R. "Our Father who art in heaven", etc.
Q. 8. Into which parts is this Lord's Prayer divided?
R. Three: the introduction, the petition itself and the epilogue. (2)
Q. 9. What is the introduction?
R. "Our Father who art in heaven."
Q. 10. What is signified by this introduction?
R. It is indicated, first of all, that whoever wishes to pray to God, approaches him not only as a creature, but also as a son through grace; for if he were not a son, he would never have been able to call him "Father"; this grace of adoption is given by Jesus Christ to those who believe in him, just as Scripture says: "But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made sons of God."  Still elsewhere: "And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father."  Therefore, we call him our Father. Secondly, it is indicated that he is a son of the orthodox-catholic Church; for whoever does not recognize the Church as his mother, cannot recognize God as Father (3), in accord with the saying: "Tell the Church; and if he will not hear the Church, let him be to you as the heathen and publican."  Thirdly, it indicates that one should have no doubt of obtaining that which he seeks, since one is asking the common Father of all, a Father generous and merciful, as Scripture says: "Be therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful,"  who not only does not deny us those things for which we importune him with our prayers, but himself offers means of prayer and generously receives our prayers; so, prayers should be only sincere from our innermost hearts. For whatever any of us will ask of him, it follows the saying: "For your Father knows what is needful for you, before you ask him.  If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him!"  Fourthly, this introduction teaches that, just as he is the Father of us all, so among us faithful we are brothers. We pray, then, not only for ourselves, but also one prays for the other, even as Sacred Scripture teaches: "And pray for one another, that you may be saved;"  that he is certainly our common Father, it says: "And call none your father upon earth: for one is your Father, who is in heaven." He himself will hear us out sooner, having grasped our brotherly love, which he commends everywhere in the holy gospel and in which the Father rejoices In the fifth place, in particular by the words "in heaven", we are taught to raise our mind in prayer to heaven and heavenly things; granted that the Lord God is not only in heaven, but is everywhere and fills all things; nevertheless, his grace and fullness are much more evident in heaven. Wherefore heaven is called his seat, as the Prophet says: "The Lord's throne is in heaven."  And elsewhere: "The Lord has prepared his throne in heaven, and his kingdom shall rule over all " 
Q. 11. How many petitions are in the second part of the prayer?
R. There are seven petitions.
Q. 12. Which is the first petition in the Lord's prayer?
R. "Hallowed be thy name."
Q. 13. What does this petition contain in itself?
R. First, there is contained in it this, that we should ask the Lord to give us a life that is holy and embellished with virtues and good works, under the influence of which men might praise the name of God for our holy life, in accord with the saying: "So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."  Secondly, there is included in this prayer this: that not only our life be unto the glory of God, but also that all of those who are infidels and do not know the true God be converted and recognize him, so that the name of God might be glorified in and through them We beg the Lord God also for those who have the name of true Christianity, but live dissolutely bringing frequent reproach upon the holy faith, about whom it is taught: "Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof."  And in another place: "For the name of God through you is blasphemed among the gentiles."  Converts should live well even now, having cast aside the evil in their life, so that the name of God can be sanctified thereby. To this point, it ought to be known that the name of God is holy of itself, but it begins to be sanctified in and for us through our holy life.
Q. 14. Which is the second petition?
R. "Thy kingdom come."
Q. 15. Which things are contained in this second part?
R. We ask the Lord God that he may rule over all of us and, most of all, over our heart through his grace and justice as well as his holy mercy, so that sin may not rule over any of us, according to the saying: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, so as to obey the lusts thereof."  Then this petition contains in itself this: that man, remaining in the grace of God, the heavenly joy having been grasped, should condemn this world and desire to attain the palace of God, that is, the kingdom of heaven, according to the saying: "Having the desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ."  Thirdly, this petition contains in itself our asking the Lord God for his second coming, when he will come in his majesty and glory. (4) There is also the resurrection of the dead and the last judgment, by which the kingdom of this world and the enemy of our souls can be abolished; then will come the kingdom of heaven, in accord with the saying: "That God may be all in all." 
Q. 16. Which is the third petition?
R. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
Q. 17. What does this petition contain-in itself?
R. First, we ask the Lord God not to allow us to live in this world according to our will, but that he might so do with us as it is pleasing to him. Secondly, we ask that there be no opposition to his will from us and other men, and, just as the Angels in heaven are subject to the divine will in all things, so may all men be obedient to God without sadness with every operation of grace. Thirdly, we indicate by this our petition that nothing certainly happens to us, the elect of God, both in the leading of a godly life and in persecution from the enemy, without the divine forbearance and will, since God provides even for our hair, not only for us ourselves, as Scripture says: "The very hairs of your head are all numbered."  Still, in another place: "But a hair of your head shall not perish." 
Q. 18. Which is the fourth petition?
R. "Give us today our supersubstantial bread." (5)
Q. 19. What does this petition contain in itself?
R. First, it includes the food for our soul, which is beyond nature, the word of God; Scripture speaks of it: "Not in bread alone does man live, but in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."  We ask for that reason that he free us from the famine of his holy word, that is, the teaching of Christ, without which the soul of man dies as if crushed by hunger. To be considered here is the death of the soul; this pertains particularly to those who are unwilling to listen to sermons and provide an evil example to others. Secondly, it includes in itself another food for the soul, that is, the communion of the body and blood of Christ, about which Christ the Lord speaks: "For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him."  We beg by this our petition that we might worthily, therefore, take this food, and when we become partakers of these two foods, we will have the kingdom of heaven within us.  And then all temporal things will be given us, according to the saying: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you."  Thirdly, in this petition there is contained in the word "bread" everything necessary for the conservation of our life in this world, so in regard to food as well as other things necessary for living. To be observed in this matter is fairness and not extravagance, which produces sin, as Saint Paul says: "Let us walk honestly, as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities." And elsewhere: "But having food, and wherewith to be convered, with these we are content."  Our age is designated by the word "today", while we live in this world, since in the future age we will enjoy the very presence and vision of God and his holy grace, and we will also experience joy.
Q. 20. Which is the fifth petition?
R. "And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors."
Q. 21. What does this petition contain in itself?
R. First, this petition includes in itself our asking the Lord God thereby for the forgiveness of our sins, especially those we have committed after holy baptism, mortal and venial, by which we offended the Lord God or neighbor, whether by consent or word or other deed. Secondly, we oblige ourselves by this petition when we say these words: "As we forgive our debtors, so also forgive our debts." Whoever, therefore, does not forgive his neighbor what he has committed against him, recites this prayer in vain, since his sins.(6) will not be forgiven him, rather will his prayer turn into sin: "And may his prayer be turned to sin."  And this is self-evidently just. For if we are unwilling to forgive our brothers their smaller sins, by which they offended us, how will the Lord God, therefore, forgive ours sins committed to an incomparable extent, whom we offend every day, hour and minute?
Q. 22. Which is the sixth petition?
R. "And lead us not into temptation."
Q. 23. What is contained in this petition?
R. First, we ask the Lord God that we might be free from all temptations; and these are two-fold: some come from the world, devil and the flesh, and incite us to sin; but others come from those tyrants who attack the holy Church with false teaching and flattering deceptions, false miracles, promises of riches and fame, and again by despotism, confiscation of goods and dishonor, all of which we see in our days. We also ask the Lord God in this petition to strengthen us by his grace, if it befalls us to suffer martyrdom for his name and the holy Church, his spouse, and the truth of his holy Gospel, by which grace we will be able to finish in strong spirit and obtain in heaven the crown of martyrdom; then that he permit nothing beyond our powers.
Q. 24. Which is the seventh petition?
R. "But deliver us from evil."
Q. 25. Which things are contained in this petition?
R. First, we ask that the Lord God save us from all evil, that is, from sin and all baseness, which provokes the wrath and vengeance of God. Then we ask him to yield to us when we come before the rage of his wrath, so that he would not punish us in his rage for our sins, as the Psalmist says: "Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms."  Yet in another place: "Rebuke me not, O Lord, in your indignation, nor chastise me in your wrath."  To be understood in this same petition is every evil that causes men annoyance, such as famine, plague, war, fire and other similar things, that God may drive them away from us through his mercy and holy grace. Here also we ask that he drive off all temptations of the enemy of our soul from us at the time of our death and grant us to struggle in a godly and holy manner under the protection of his holy grace and our guardian Angel; for happy is he who dies in such a manner. Wherefore, all of us are bound to ask fervently the Lord God to free us at the time of death from the temptations and insults of the devil Finally, we ask through this petition that we may be free from the eternal punishment of hell and the devil.
Q. 26. Which is the third part of the Lord's prayer?
R. This epilogue: "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory unto ages. Amen "(7)
Q. 27. What is contained in this epilogue?
R. There are two parts to this epilogue. The first is that which is joined to the introduction; for, just as the introduction assures us that we will obtain everything which we shall have properly asked of God, since we are asking the Father, so also does the epilogue teach that we will receive everything which we have asked, since the whole world belongs to the same Father and he himself rules, and every creature obeys him, for his is the power and the glory, which nobody in heaven and on earth can resist; therefore, he is capable of doing all things which we ask of him in faith and hope, but not on account of anything of yours, but only on account of the eternal glory of his holy name, which itself is contained in this expression: "Glory unto ages." The second part of the epilogue is in this particle: "Amen." Expressed here is the thought that all things might be just as we have asked; for we have asked with faith and hope, according to his will, just as the Apostle says: "And this is the confidence which we have toward him: that whatsoever we shall ask according to his will, he hears US."  And we know that he hears us; we know what we ask, because we have the petitions which we request of him.
Q. 28. Does this epilogue belong to the Lord's prayer?
R. Christ the Lord himself said these words in finishing his prayer, as we have in St. Matthew. (8) Reason itself also asserts that there is nothing here contrary to the Lord's Prayer, and, what is more, it is considered more assuredly a prayer, since we petition him, whose power extends throughout the whole world, and all things are subject to him. And there is nothing contradictory in the fact that laymen do not recite these words (9), because, due to the greater authority of this prayer, the priest himself recites them, whenever he is present during public and private prayers. But even if any layman recites it privately, he commits no sin, as in the case of the rest of the Gospel. Wherefore, these words are never excluded from the Lord's prayer, because reason itself convinces one that the priest himself recites them at public prayer only through the authority from the mandate of the Church.