Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church

Rt. Reverend Archpriest Alexander Androsov, Rector

306 Beech Street
Manchester, New Hampshire 03103

Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church

The Mystery (Sacrament) of Confession

    The first thing that needs to be said about the Mystery of Confession is that while Orthodox practice may look similar to Roman Catholic practice, what actually occurs is very different.

    When an Orthodox faithful confesses his sins, he is confessing to Our Lord Jesus Christ, not to the priest standing nearby. The priest is serving as a witness and arbitor. Having the grace of the priesthood within him, the priest is able to ask for absolution for the sins of the penitent. A penance can be layed upon the penitent, but is not required.

The normal practice of the Russian Orthodox Church is to have anyone wishing to receive Holy Communion during Divine Liturgy go to Confession before the service.

    Confessions are regularly heard before the celebration of every Divine Liturgy and following Great Vespers the prior evening. Please be in church for confession no later than 30 minutes before the beginning of Divine Liturgy.

    You may also contact Father Alexander at the telephone number above to make an appointment for Confession for another time.

Prayer before confession

St. Symeon the New Theologian

    O God and Lord of all! Who hath the power over every breath and soul, the only One able to heal me, hearken unto the prayer of me, the wretched one, and, having put him to death, destroy the serpent nestling within me by the decent of the All-Holy and Life-Creating Spirit. And vouchsafe me, poor and naked of all virtue, to fall with tears at the feet of my spiritual father, and call his holy soul to mercy, to have mercy on me. And grant, O Lord, unto my heart humility and good thoughts, becoming a sinner, who hath consented to repent unto Thee, and do not abandon unto the end the one soul, which hath united itself unto Thee and hath confessed Thee, and instead of all the world hath chosen Thee and hath preferred Thee. For Thou knowest, O Lord, that I want to save myself, and that my evil habit is an obstacle. But all things are possible unto Thee, O Master, which are impossible for man. Amen.

A Brief Confession before One's Spiritual Father

From the Full Confession of St. Dmitri of Rostov

    I confess to the Lord my God and before thee, venerable father, all my countless sins, committed by me unto this very day and hour, in deed, word and thought. I sin daily and hourly by mine ingratitude toward God for His great and countless blessings and benevolent providence over me, a sinner.

    I have sinned through: idle talking, judging others, stubbornness, pride, hard-heartedness, envy, anger, slander, inattention, negligence concerning my salvation, carelessness, indifference, impertinence, irritability, despondency, rendering evil for evil, bitterness, disobedience, complaining, self-justification, contradicting others, self-will, being reproachful, gossiping, lying, light-mindedness, tempting others, self-love, ambition, gourmandizing, eating and drinking to excess, vanity, laziness, entertaining unclean thoughts, acquisitiveness, impure glances, absence from divine services because of laziness and carelessness, absent-mindedness at prayer both in church and at home; I have sinned in deed, word thought; in sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and the rest of my mental and physical senses; of all my sins I repent and beg forgiveness.

(Here one should mention specifically any other sins which may be burdening the soul.)

    I also repent and ask forgiveness for all those sins that I have not confessed because of their multitude and my forgetfulness.

    Forgive and absolve me, venerable father, and bless me to commune of the holy and life-creating Mysteries of Christ unto the remission of sins and life everlasting.

A Brief Confession before One's Spiritual Father

Compiled by Patriarch St. Tikhon while he was serving as Archbishop of San Francisco.
Based on a longer version by St. Dimitri of Rostov.

    I confess to the Lord my God before thee, reverend father, all my sins which I have committed up to the present day and hour, in deed, word and thought. Every day and every hour I sin through ingratitude to God for His great and numberless blessings to me and His most gracious providence and care for me, a sinner. I have sinned through:

idle talk,saying unseemly things, condemnation of others,scorn, self-love, insubordination, love of glory, pride, envy, gluttony, anger, love of sensual pleasure, slander, over-eating, drunkeness, negligence, love of money,laziness, disobedience, lustful and impure thoughts, missing church services, reproaching others, evil speech, neglect of prayer, lying, concealing sins at confession.

    I have sinned with all my senses, both spiritual and physical, wherefore I repent to the Lord and ask forgiveness. Absolve all my sins, reverend father, and bless me to partake of the Mysteries of Christ.

A Preparation for Confession by St. John of Kronstadt

    I, a sinful soul, confess to our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, all of my evil acts which I have done, said or thought from baptism even unto this present day.

    I have not kept the vows of my baptism, but have made myself unwanted before the face of God.

    I have sinned before the Lord by lack of faith and by doubts concerning the Orthodox Faith and the Holy Church; by ungratefulness for all of God's great and unceasing gifts; His long-suffering and His providence for me, a sinner; by lack of love for the Lord, as well as fear, through not fulfilling the holy commandments of God and the canons and rules of the Church. I have not preserved a love for God and for my neighbor nor have I made enough efforts, because of laziness and lack of care, to learn the commandments of God and the precepts of the Holy Fathers. I have sinned: by not praying in the morning and in the evening and in the course of the day; by not attending the services or by coming to Church only half-heartedly, lazily and carelessly; by conversing during the services, by not paying attention, letting my mind wander and by departure from the Church before the dismissal and blessing.

    I have sinned by judging members of the clergy.

    I have sinned by not respecting the feasts, breaking the fasts, and by immoderation in food and drink.

    I have sinned by self-importance, disobedience, willfulness, self-righteousness, and the seeking of approval and praise.

    I have sinned by unbelief, lack of faith, doubts, despair, despondency, abusive thoughts, blasphemy, and swearing.

I have sinned by pride, a high opinion of myself, narcissism, vanity, conceit, envy, love of praise, love of honors, and by putting on airs.

    I have sinned: by judging, malicious gossip, anger, remembering of offenses done to me, hatred and returning evil for evil; by slander, reproaches, lies, slyness, deception and hypocrisy; by prejudices, arguments, stubbornness, and an unwillingness to give way to my neighbor; by gloating, spitefulness, taunting, insults and mocking; by gossip, by speaking too much and by empty speech.

    I have sinned by unnecessary and excessive laughter, by reveling and dwelling upon my previous sins, by arrogant behavior, insolence and lack of respect.

    I have sinned by not keeping my physical and spiritual passions in check, by my enjoyment of impure thoughts, licentiousness and unchastity in thoughts, words, and deeds.

    I have sinned by lack of endurance towards my illnesses and sorrows, a devotion to the comforts of life and by being too attached to my parents, children, relatives, and friends.

    I have sinned by hardening my heart, having a weak will and by not forcing myself to do good.

    I have sinned by miserliness, a love of money, the acquisition of unnecessary things, and immoderate attachment to things.

    I have sinned by self-justification, a disregard for the admonitions of my conscience and failing to confess my sins through negligence or false pride.

    I have sinned many times by my confession: belittling, justifying and keeping silent about sins.

    I have sinned against the Most-holy and Life-creating Mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Lord by coming to Holy Communion without humility or the fear of God.

    I have sinned in deed, word and thought, knowingly and unknowingly, willingly and unwillingly, thoughtfully and thoughtlessly, and it is impossible to enumerate all of my sins because of their multitude. But I truly repent of these and all others not mentioned by me because of my forgetfulness and I ask that they be forgiven through the abundance of the mercy of God.

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