It Is Time To Repent, Make Haste. Help Me, O My Saviour!
On the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Repose of Father Sampson - 1979-2004
Foreword to Alive, Even After Death
Some of these Elders, all sorely persecuted, have now been canonized, others, no doubt, will be. However, there is another father who draws our attention: the penitent Hieroschemamonk Sampson (+ 1979).
Yes, I am drawn to him because of his English origins. Yes, I am drawn to him because his mother nearly became an Indian princess, and I married thus. Yes, I am drawn to him because his mother went to live in Russia, as I would have done, had the opportunity not been taken away by the Cold War. Yes, I am drawn to him because his life was one of persecution, exile, sin and repentance. Yes, I am drawn to him because he had an understanding of different languages and peoples, he was Russian with Russians, French with the French, English with the English, but Orthodox with everyone.
Reading the latest volume on the Elder, Alive Even After Death (Derzhava, Moscow 2004), published on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his repose, we learn how as a child, the future martyr Emperor Nicholas played with him. We read how in his teens he was chrismated into the Orthodox Church from Anglicanism. We read how in 1929 he had a vision of St Seraphim of Sarov who gave him the prayer to the Mother of God - two hours before he was arrested. We read of the eighteen years he spent in prisons and exile. We read of his 7,000 mile journey on foot to Tashkent. We read of his places of service, making the sign of the cross over Russia. We read of the persecution of the Church and how some made compromises. We read of the Fr Sampson's relationship with Patriarch Alexis I, and how the latter cleansed the St Petersburg Diocese of modernist renovationists. We read of the his prophecy, now come true, that churches would re-open. We read how, although Russians know that he was not Russian, for them he is Russian, because he truly became Orthodox, he was Orthodox in spirit and in faith.
God yet grant me the time to put into English his true autobiography and
his penitence, published in this same volume, for the edification of readers.
Here below I now have the honour to present my modest translation into
English, Fr Sampson's mother-tongue, of his Canon of Repentance, written
Composed by Hieroschemamonk Sampson in 1965
It is time to repent, make haste. Help me, O my Saviour!
Wretched, I have been wounded by my sins and passions, and seeing me prostrate, the enemy maketh glad. O Thou Who givest life and raisest the dead, save me!
See my infirmity, see the grievous deformity of my soul and hear my voice, O Most Merciful Christ, and change my formlessness into beauty.
I have wasted the riches that Christ gave me in evil living, and become naked, clothed in the deeds of dishonour, therefore I cry unto Thee: Adorn me in my first, Divine raiment, touching me with grace and tender mercy.
I have been filled with many bitter falls into sin, O compassionate and longsuffering Lord: Have compassion for me who standeth condemned and turn me not away from Thy face.
O Christ, Thou didst justify the publican who sighed in repentance, and I have become like unto him, I beat my breast and call unto Thee: Cleanse me, O Thou Who alone art Compassionate and Most Merciful.
I have fallen into an abyss of grievous sins and a tempest of passions, I call out unto Thee, O my Saviour Christ, raise me up by Thy mighty arm and save me.
I am vanquished by bodily passions and, though granted words to speak, am become wordless: O Word of God, Who by a word saved the harlot, save me a wretch, that I may bless and sing of Thy goodness.
As Thou, O Righteous Judge, makest ready to come to judge mankind, in which dread hour I shall be condemned, send me not into the fire of gehenna, but spare me, spare me and save me!
Behold, it is time to repent, behold the day: Make my deeds to be deeds of light, flee from the darkness of the passions, drive away the sleep of evil despondency, that thou (Name) mayest be a partaker of the Divine Light.
A thousand times, O Saviour, I have promised to repent, but my soul hath no feeling and I fall into transgessions: O Saviour, have compassion for my infirmity.
O Jesus my Saviour, in the dread day appear not unto me who am in despair: But before the end turn me unto Thee, and deliver me from bitter torment.
I have befouled my hands and my feet, my lips and my eyes, and made myself to do evil, and though depending on Thy longsuffering, I have turned Thy compassion into wrath: But looking upon me, have compassion, O my Saviour.
In folly I join sin unto sin, and I have no fear of my death: Woe is me, how will I appear unto Thee, O my Saviour!
Like unto the Canaanite woman of old, I call unto Thee, O Saviour: O Son of God, have mercy on me and show compassion. My soul suffereth in grievous sins and is not ready to come to its senses.
I have cast off Thy Laws and yielded to lusts without reason, doing that which is unbecoming, for I have busied myself in my folly, like no other man on earth: Leave me not to perish, O Saviour, for the sake of Thy love for mankind.
I was conceived in iniquity like David, and I weep like the harlot, and like a greatly troublesome servant, I have troubled Thee, O God Who alone art Good: Leave me not to perish, O Saviour, for the sake of Thy love for mankind.
Thou, O good Shepherd, O Word, convert and save my wretched soul that wandereth on the hills of transgression: That the cunning enemy may not consume me unto the end.
O how dread is Thy judgement-seat, where I await to be judged, O Christ, and I feel no fear at all, passing all my time in ways unbecoming! But convert me who hath sinned, O Only Creator, as Thou didst convert Mannaseh.
Stop the streams of my countless evil deeds, give unto me streams of tears to wash away the foulness, and save me by Thy mercy, O Thou Who didst save the harlot who repented from her soul.
Of old Mannaseh repented with all his soul, and he was saved bound from amidst his bonds, for he cried out to the Only Lord: For Him, O (Name), be zealous and thou wilt be saved.
Senselessly I have cast off the Law of God and stand to be condemned, and I know not what I do, O Most Righteous Judge. Have compassion and save me by Thy mercy.
O Physician of the sick, heal the passions of my heart by Thy mercy, covering it with the plaster of repentance, Divine healing, that I may truly glorify Thee, O my Saviour.
Sprinkling me with my repentance, cleanse me from the foulness of my passions, that I may appear clean unto Thee, when Thou comest to judge all by Thy righteous judgement.
The wounds of my thrice-wretched soul have become putrid, O Saviour. Having healed me, O Healer of the sick and Giver of good things, save me, for Thy great mercy's sake.
I groan and abide in evil. I weep, but tremble not before the Judge, for I have lost all feeling. O Word of God, have compassion for me and save me by Thy gracious judgements.
I have soiled myself with my lustful eyes and befouled myself with the touch of intemperance, and I have become abominable before Thee, O Jesus. But like the prodigal, accept me.
O Thou of many mercies, vouchsafe that I may cross over to the holy land, where dwell the meek, with repentance throughly wash my earthly self and my sins, O Thou Who wast born of the Virgin without sin.
Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the time of cleansing. Turn and desire other things, O (Name), bring forth the fruit of repentance, that the dread axe of death may not find thee barren, and cutting thee down as the fig-tree of old, may not send thee into the everlasting fire.
O Lord, I ever join sins unto sins, a prodigal, I feel no fear of Thee, O Lord: Therefore save me before the end and have compassion for me.
Behold, it is time, O my soul, arise from the evils that thou hast done, and with fear cry out to the Lord and Deliverer: Open unto me the doors of repentance, O my Saviour!
I was bared of virtues and clothed in evil, and behold, I am filled with shame, O Jesus Who lovest mankind, make me bright with raiment divine.
All the days I have been darkened with illusions and the despondency of this passing and perishable life, O Jesus, show compassion and direct my life towards the light of repentance.
Wretched, I have weighed down my soul with the slumber of carelessness, and am cast down in the sleep of sin, raise me up to the light of repentance, O Lord, and by Thy mercy save me.
O merciful Christ, have compassion for me, vouchsafe that I may groan like the publican of old and like the harlot who cried out with ardour; that I too may wash away the darkness of my many transgressions.
Like repentant Manasseh of old, save me, and have compassion for me like the harlot who wept, and the thief who was justified by a word; O my Saviour, wash me from the darkness of my passions, I have sinned many times and grievously, accept me, O Saviour, as I cry out: Blessed is the God of our fathers.
Like the harlot, in thought I cling unto Thy feet and wash them with my tears, O Word: O my Saviour, wash me from the darkness of my passions, and now proclaim even unto me, Thy faith hath saved thee, that I may sing of Thy mercy beyond measure.
When thy deeds, O (Name), are revealed unto the angelic hosts standing before the Judge, what answer wilt thou find for thy shame, if thou dost not cry out before the end and weep: I have sinned, O Gracious Lord, have mercy on me!
I am always promising to repent unto Thee, O God; sinning again, what will become of me, how will I appear, when Thou judgest the earth!
I have not cared for Thy words of enlightenment, O Lord, I have done dark deeds, and I fear Thy Dread Judgement-Seat there.
Because of my deeds there is no salvation for me, wretched, in much I have sinned on earth, and I shall tremble at Thy Dread Judgement-Seat, when Thou, O God, comest to condemn the transgressor of Thy commandments.
How foolish I have been, how dark I am become, doing evil deeds! How I have not understood the fear of Thee, O Christ, I have gone down to the earth and become like the dumb beasts of the field. But convert me, O God of all!
Forgive my iniquities and unrighteousness, my countless transgressions, O Christ, and deliver me from the torments to come, for the sake of the multitude of Thy compassions, O God.
Filled with evils and every lie and lust, the serpent stole me away with cunning and craft. But sighing, I call: O Word, cast me not away who am condemned and foolish in my life.
May I magnify Thy longsuffering, O Jesus my Saviour: Show me Thy longsuffering again and cut me not down like the barren fig-tree, that I may bring unto Thee the fruits of repentance.
O my Deliverer, O Jesus, as Thou didst deliver the harlot who of old truly repented of many transgressions, I pray unto Thee: Deliver me also from my countless sins, for Thou art Most Merciful.
Look upon me with Thy Merciful eye, when I come before Thee and am judged, O Lord, Who Alone art easily entreated.
Give unto me streams of tears to dry up the wellsprings of my passions and wash away the darkness of every sin, extinguishing the everlasting and inextinguishable fire of gehenna, O Thou Compassionate and Most Merciful.
Behold, I am Thy slothful servant who hid Thy talent and wasted himself in the evil deeds of the passions: But send me not into the fire.
I was Thy son by grace, O Compassionate Christ, I was enslaved to the enemy and took myself afar off from Thee, living as a prodigal: Therefore convert me and save me.
Show me not the rejoicing of the demons in the day of dread, O Christ Jesus, that then I may not hear the voice sending me into the fire of gehenna.
O Compassionate One, heal the unhealable passions of my heart, grant me to cut off my transgressions, make light my heavy burden, that with tenderness of heart I may ever glorify Thee, the Eternal God of our fathers.
Goodness is to end for me: I pray Thee, make an end to my evil deeds, though I have no zeal, for my heart is hardened. Show compassion and have mercy on me, O Word of God!
O Jesus my Saviour, Who lovest mankind, Who alone knowest my infirmity in which I am clothed, for Thy mercy's sake, come and cleanse me thereof: And so cleanse the foul and wicked impurity and putrid wounds of my evils and save me.
I constantly sin and have no fear of Thee, O Christ, Who awaitest my repentance in longsuffering: Give unto me the thought of turning to Thee and disdain me not, for Thou art Good.
Thou Who overlookest the sins of men for the sake of Thy great love for mankind, O Christ, overlook my many evils, my Only Saviour, that I may glorify Thy great Goodness.
Send down unto me streams of tears, O Lord and Word of God: That I may wash away the darkness of my many transgressions.
O Word, deliver me from Thy righteous wrath, when Thou judgest the earth, and when cleansed from my many transgressions through repentance, show me the temple of Thy Grace, O Only Maker of all.
I have been shown to be a prodigal, living in foulness on earth and bowing down before the pursuit of the passions: Turn me unto Thee, O Christ my God, and save me, for Thou lovest mankind.
I have fallen into the passion of dishonour, I have become like the beasts of the field, I have been darkened, I do not see Thy longsuffering waiting, O my Saviour. Grant me the time to turn unto Thee and save me.
I have ended my life in sloth, doing that which it is not fitting to do, and behold, now I have drawn closer to the gates of hell, I come not to my senses, I have no fear: Disdain me not, O Christ, Who Alone art Good.
Now the Bridegroom is at the doors, make bright with light, pouring on the oil of mercy and every good deed. Before the door closeth, with Christ make haste to enter into unspeakable joy.
Like the Canaanite woman I call unto Thee: Have mercy on me, as of old on her who had nothing, correct me, O Jesus my Saviour, while I have time to repent and pray.
Fill my heart with tender mercy, O Christ, that in repentance I may enter into Thy habitations and in confession pray unto Thee, Who dost absolve me from my transgressions.
Washing away the wicked foulness of my heart, vouchsafe that on the day of dread I may appear spotless before Thee, O Christ my Saviour, for Thou art Most Good.
O Lord, Thou Thyself knowest my hidden and unrevealed secrets, for I have transgressed before Thee mightily: Have compassion for me through Thy great compassion, O Word of God, for Thou art Merciful, and give unto me the cleansing time of repentance.
Thou Who at a command didst cleanse the harlot and the lepers, O Maker of all, cleanse my humble soul of foul sin, and I pray Thee, O Lord, make me fair with shining raiment.
Absolving me from the bonds of many transgressions, O Christ God, direct me to walk without hindrance in Thy path, that renouncing the flesh, and setting me in the resting-places of the saints, I may glorify Thee.
Like the publican I sigh, like the harlot I weep, like Peter I call out, I am sunk in transgressions, O Christ, give me a hand of help and save me.
A fool, I have exalted myself like the pharisee of old, and have fallen a grievous fall, and seeing me, the devil maketh glad. O Word of God, disdain me not!
I have befouled my hands in all manner of evil deeds, how wilt thou raise them aloft when thou speakest unto God? I have made my footsteps unbecoming by walking in shameful deeds. But make haste to walk in the paths of salvation with repentance.
As Thou didst deliver from the torments of hell the good thief who cried out, as Thou didst have compassion for the harlot who wept, like Peter the great disciple and David the Prophet, even on me have mercy, O Saviour, for I am in despair.