Re: What Does "Common Prayer" Involve?
- Α. What common prayer is and what it isn't
But what does the term "common prayer" mean? In ancient Hellenic literature, according to John Stamatakos, the term "συνεύχομαι" (pron. syn-éfhomae) means "I wish (pray) in common with someone; I join my wishes with his" .
In Patristic literature, according to G.W.H.Lampe the term "συμπροσεύχομαι" (pron. syn-proséfhomae) means "I pray together, pray with", while the term "συνεύχομαι" (pron. syn-éfhomae)means (a) "I pray with" (pray together with) and also (b) "I also wish one well".
Furthermore, we can say that we have a case of "common prayer" when:
1. there is a coinciding of the place and the time of prayer  (a necessary, but not an adequate prerequisite).
2. there is a common desire for the same purpose of performing prayer (an adequate and necessary prerequisite).
3. we participate in the development of prayer, through the observance of a common schedule of worship; i.e., when the content of benedictions or hymns is common; when there is a common response to the commands of the officiating minister, and also when the clergymen's liturgical attire is common. (an adequate but not necessary prerequisite)
4. In conclusion: When, with our overall associations (with words, works, behavior), we strive to give the impression to others that we too desire to participate in their worship.
In accordance, therefore, with the above, we cannot say that common prayer is taking place when we have a case of someone visiting or observing a certain religious ceremony, only for scientific, tourist, social reasons or for reasons of etiquette.
 J. Stamatakos, Lexicon of the ancient Greek Language, Athens 1972, p.950.
 G.W.H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon, Oxford 1961, p.1290, 1325-1326.
 Of course only the simultaneous presence in the same place without any other prerequisites designated, is not adequate for the performing of common prayer; for example: the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel with the priests of Baal (III Kings 18:36); the prophet Jonah in the ship going to Tharsis (Jonah 1:5); the apostle Paul in prison, in the presence of other prisoners (Acts 16:25); the Russian representatives in the Holy Temple of Haghia Sophia in Constantinople, prior to the Christianization of the Russians.
 see Apostolic Canon 64 (to enter .in order to pray) and Canon 9 of Laodicea (for the sake of a blessing or therapy).
 Apostolic Canon 45, "to perform any act, as Clergymen".
 Epiphanios Theodoropoulos, "the two extremes" (Ecumenism and Zealotry) Athens 1986, p. 187
Source: Orthodox Outlet For Dogmatic Enquiries
George C. Thomas
- If one studies the heresies, one would come across the founders of heresies
as good Christians and many of them were bishops. They were influenced by
the Greek thought which was rational. They were labelled heretics because
their thoughts differed from those of the Patriarchs of Christianity,
mainly the Pope of Rome.
One cannot deny the fact that Malankara Nazranis were supported and
nurtured by the Persian Church, which was Nestorian. So, we were heretics
for centuries!!! If the British had not interfered with our Church and we
had not requested the Patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria for support, our
Church would have been Nestorian and would have been termed Heretic by the
Thus, the Malankara Church should be more tolerant to the 'Heretics'.
Cdr Ninan P Mathai IN (Retd), Mumbai
- Dear Ninan Mathai,
Despite we were under the Nestorians indirectly for a short while, our Orthodox faith was not at all derailed in any way. Read Malankara history by E.M.Philip who had very well delineated the area that you referred to. That is why we say that God has been looking after this small flock as the temple of His eyes since the days of our apostle who only had the blessing of putting his hand into His wounds. All other apostles only saw His wounds, Lk.24. Liberators would come when we are under the yoke of sufferings.
We should pray for the heretics to turn back and got accepted in the right faith, instead of us accepting the heresy.