The Beatitudes are a series of blessings pronounced by Christ in Matthew 5:1-12. The term Beatitudes comes from the Latin beati ("blessed") which begins each verse from 5:3 to 5:12 in the Latin Vulgate.
The Beatitudes are included in the Divine Liturgy in Slavic practice, in Byzantine monastic practice, in the Typika, and in other services. In the context of the Liturgy, they form the third antiphon. During the singing of this Third Antiphon, the Little Entrance is begun.
The Beatitudes begin with a phrase taken from Luke 23:42:
- In Thy kingdom remember us, O Lord, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom.
They then continue:
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
- Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
- Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
- Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward is great in heaven. (Matthew 5:2-12; Cf Luke 6:20-26)
And end with
- "Glory... Both now...".
In the Liturgy, there are troparia appointed to be read between these verses that vary depending on the typikon. These troparia can also read in Typika when it is done the place of a Liturgy that the Typikon calls for.
When the Typikon does not appoint a Liturgy and Typika is done, the Beatitudes are completed as follows:
- Remember us, O Lord, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom.
- Remember us, O Master, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom.
- Remember us, O Holy One, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom.
The beatitudes are considered by the Church, to contain the most concise summary of the spiritual life of man. They are an introduction to the teachings of Jesus. In the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, the beatitudes are chanted when the Book of the Gospels is carried in solemn procession to the sanctuary to be proclaimed as the Word of God to the faithful. Thus it is the clear teaching of the Gospel and the Church that one enters into the mysteries of Christ and the Kingdom of God only by way of following the Lord's teachings in the beatitudes.