St. Pachomius’ Prayer Rule

Christ is risen!

Yesterday, we celebrated St. Pachomius. While scrolling though the daily readings, this name popped out to me. It was last year, while reading through On the Jesus Prayer by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov that I came across a very simple prayer rule:

“An Angel of God taught St. Pachomius the Great a rule of prayer for the vast community of monks dependent on him. The monks under the spiritual direction of St. Pachomius had to perform the rule every day. Only those who had attained perfection and the unceasing prayer connected with it were freed from the obligation to perform the rule. The rule taught by the Angel consisted of the Trisagion, the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 50, the Symbol of Faith (Creed) and 100 Jesus Prayers. In the rule the prayer of Jesus is spoken of like the Lord’s prayer, that is, as prayers generally known and in general use.”
—St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, On the Prayer of Jesus

I have made this my personal prayer rule each morning. I take public transit to work, and have only a short distance to walk to get to my bus stop. On the way, and after I board the bus, I recite each piece of St. Pachomius’ prayer rule. After I’ve finished, I read the Church’s daily readings, ask for the Saints celebrated on that day to pray for me, and then read through selected works from the Church Fathers or a biography of a Saint (currently I’m reading about the life of St. Herman of Alaska). Once I get off the bus, I have a short walk to work, which just happens to take as long as 100 Jesus Prayers.

This is my trusty prayer rule. It helps me start my mornings off with proper focus and it helps to take some of the monotony out my commute.

It struck me yesterday how remarkable it is that nearly 1700 years after St. Pachomius received this prayer rule it continues to bless the Church. Once a year I will continue to be reminded of the Saint who passed down my very first prayer rule. This reveals to me another facet of the remarkable nature of the Church’s love and reverence for the Church Triumphant.

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