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AN ORDER OF BROTHER UNION

Psalm 132

The president says:

Behold, how good and pleasing it is when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard,
upon the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life for evermore.

People: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to Holy Spirit,
both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

THE LITANY OF PEACE

Reader: In peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy. And so after each petition.

Reader: For the peace from above, and for the salvation of our souls, let us ask the Lord.

Reader: For the peace of the whole world, for the good estate of the holy churches of God, and for the unity of all, let us ask the Lord.

Reader: For XXX, the pope of Rome, for all the Catholic Patriarchs, for our Bishop YYY and all Orthodox Bishops, for the venerable Priesthood, the Diaconate in Christ and for all the Faithful, let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: Help us; save us; have mercy upon us and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

Reader: That the whole day may be perfect, holy, peaceful, and sinless, let us ask the Lord.

People: Grant this, O Lord. And so after each of the following petitions.

Reader: For an angel of peace, a faithful guide, a guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask the Lord.

Reader: For pardon and remission of our sins and transgressions, let us ask of the Lord.

Reader: For all things that are good and profitable for our souls, and peace for the world, let us ask the Lord.

Reader: That we may complete the remaining time of our lives in peace and repentance, let us ask the Lord.

Reader: For a Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful; and a good defense before the dread Judgment Seat of Christ, let us ask the Lord.

Reader: For the servants of God N and M, for their union in Christ, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy. And so after each of the following petitions.

Reader: That the Lord our God keep them in perfect love and inseparable life, let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: That He will continue to bless their union, as he approved that of Serge and Bacchus, let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: That He will deliver them and us from all tribulation, wrath, danger and necessity, let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: Help us, have mercy on us, and keep us safe, O God, by thy grace.

Reader: Commemorating the Immaculate and Ever-Virgin Mother of God, Mary, together with Her spouse Joseph, and all the saints, let us commend ourselves and each other and all our life unto Christ our God.

People: To Thee, O Lord.

Meanwhile, the president shall say the following prayer in secret:

Remember, O Lord our God, thy servants M and N, bless and consecrate them. Grant them concord of soul and body. Exalt them like the cedars of Lebanon, that they may abound in every work that is good and acceptable unto Thee.
Bless them, O Lord our God, as Thou didst bless David and Jonathan.
Preserve them, O Lord our God, as Thou didst preserve Shadrak, Meshak and Abednego from the fire; and let that gladness come upon them which the blessed Helena had when she found the precious Cross.
Remember them, O Lord our God, as Thou didst remember Enoch, Abraham, Moses and Elijah: Remember also, O Lord our God, the parents who have nurtured them, for the prayers of parents make firm the foundations of houses.

The president then concludes, out loud:
For unto Thee are due all glory, honor and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to their life-giving Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
People: Amen.

COLLECT

The President says the following prayers out loud:

O Lord, Our God, who didst approve thy saints and apostles Philip and Bartholemew becoming partners, not bound by nature but in the unity of Holy Spirit and in the mode of faith; and who didst consider thy holy martyrs Serge and Bacchus worthy to be united: grant to these thy servants grace to love one another and abide unhated, not being a cause of scandal, all the days of their lives.
Send down the grace of Thy Holy Spirit on Thy servants M and N, that they may be one in spirit and one in faith, that they may prosper in virtue and justice and in sincere love. Grant them a holy fear and great joy: being in Thy sight joined together more in spirit than in flesh.
For it is Thou who dost bless and sanctify those who trust in Thee, and Thine is the majesty, and Thine the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
People: Amen.
 

THE SYNAXIS

Reader: Let us attend!

President: Peace be with all.

People: and with thy spirit.

Deacon or Reader:
A reading from the First Book of Samuel:
[Chapter 18:1-4]

Deacon or Reader:
A reading from the First Epistle of the Holy Apostle John.
[Chapter 4:7-12]

President:
Peace be with all.

People:
And with thy spirit.

President, or Reader:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
[Chapter 8:5-13]

The President says: The Holy Abbot Aelred tells us that: "It is no small consolation in this life to have someone to whom you can be united in the intimate embrace of the most sacred love; in whom your spirit can rest; to whom you can pour out your soul; in whose delightful company, as in a sweet consoling song, you can take comfort in the midst of sadness; in whose most welcome, friendly bosom you can find peace in so many worldly setbacks; to whose loving heart you can open, as freely as you would to yourself, your innermost thoughts; through whose spiritual kisses as by some medicine you are cured of the sickness of care and worry; who weeps with you in sorrow, rejoices with you in joy, and wonders with you in doubt; whom you draw by the fetters of love into that inner room of your soul, so that though the body is absent, the spirit is there, and you can confer all alone, the two of you, in the sleep of peace away from the noise of the world, in the embrace of love, in the kiss of unity, with the Holy Spirit flowing over you; to whom you so join and unite yourself that you mix soul with soul, and two become one."
 

LITANY OF FERVENT SUPPLICATION

Reader: Let us say, with all our soul and with all our mind, let us say.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Reader: O Lord almighty, the God of our fathers, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Reader: Have mercy upon us, O God, according to Thy great mercy, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.

People: Lord, have mercy. Three times.

Reader: Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, and visitation, pardon and remission of sins for the servants of God, M and N, and for their parents, and all here present who await thy great and rich mercy.

People: Lord, have mercy. Three times.

Meanwhile, the president shall say the following prayer in secret:
Almighty and Everliving God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea; who made us in thy image and likeness and gave us the promise of everlasting life; accept and consecrate Thou these Thy servants, M and N who love each other with a love of the spirit. Grant unto them hope, unashamed faithfulness and true love. Keep them in Thy Name and sanctify them in Thy Truth, so that living according to Thy commandments they may become heirs of Thy Kingdom, for Thou art the giver of all good things and the lover of mankind.

The president then concludes, out loud:
For Thou art a merciful God and lovest mankind; and unto Thee we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
People: Amen.

THE EXCHANGE OF RINGS

The President receives the rings, and says

O Lord, Our God, bless these rings which we dedicate in Thy Name. May those who wear them keep true faith unto each other, abide in Thy peace and will and ever live in mutual charity, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
People: Amen.

The elder partner places the ring first on the thumb, then on the the first then the second and third finger of the younger's left hand, and holding it there, says:

N, I give you this ring as a sign of our union. With my body I worship you and all that I have I share with you, in the name of the Father [Thumb], and of the Son [First], and of the Holy Spirit [Second]. Amen [Third].

The rite is repeated, the younger partner giving a ring to the elder.

M, I give you this ring as a sign of our union. With my body I worship you and all that I have I share with you, in the name of the Father [Thumb], and of the Son [First], and of the Holy Spirit [Second]. Amen [Third].

The president shall place the right hand of the elder upon the holy Gospel
and upon that of the younger, and [if ordained] place his stole over both



 
 
 
 

THE COMMON CUP

Then the president says the following prayer of blessing of the Common Cup:

O God, who has created all things by Thy might, and hast made fast the round world: sanctify now, with Thy spiritual blessing, this Common Cup, which Thou dost give to those who are now united. For blessed is Thy name, and glorified is Thy kingdom, of the Father, and of the Son, and of Holy Spirit: now and ever and unto ages of ages.
People: Amen.

The president gives the newly united pair to drink of the Cup, thrice each in turn, in token of their common life together.

The president says this prayer:

O God, thou didst deem it proper for the holy martyrs Serge and Bacchus to be united. Bless then, these thy servants, who through Thy good providence are now joined together. Grant unto them grace and prosperity, and faith and love; let them love each other without envy and without temptation all the days of their life. Bless their goings out and their comings in: replenish their life with good things: receive them into Thy kingdom, preserving them spotless, blameless, and without reproach, unto ages of ages.

People: Amen.

The president then says this prayer:

May the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the all-holy, consubstantial and life-giving Trinity, one Godhead and one Kingdom, bless you; and grant unto you length of days, prosperity of life, and faith: and fill you with abundance of all earthly good things, and make you worthy to obtain the blessings of the promise: through the prayers of the holy Mother of God, of St Joseph and of all the Saints.
People: Amen.

Reader: Wisdom! Most Holy Mother of God, save us!

People: More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, thou who without stain barest God the Word, the very Mother of God, we magnify thee.
President: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The newly-joined pair kiss the Cross and each other, and the president says this Dismissal Prayer:

May He who by His tender care for both the Apostle John and Lazarus did show human love to be honorable, Christ our true God; through the prayers of His all-holy Mother; of the holy and glorious Apostles; of the holy martyrs Serge and Bacchus; of the holy martyrs Polyeuct and Nearchus, of the saints Symeon and John, Alcuin, Anselm, Aelred and George and of all the Saints, have mercy upon you and save you: for He is good and loves mankind.
People: Amen.