As an Orthodox Christian I am blessed to have centuries of ancient prayers to recall for almost every act on our farm. Monks pray as they bring their cows or goats in for milking; they pray as they collect eggs from chickens asking blessings on them for their contribution to our well being. And although the bees are by far our smallest charges on the farm they are not to be left out of the prayers and there are icons to keep in the apiary and patron Saints for the apiary. We even have ancient prayers to be prayed annually over the apiary, the bees, their hives and the honey.
Our brave priest, Father Jason didn’t flinch when I asked him to bless our bees. It wasn’t until he arrived in his usual cassock that I started to be concerned. My general attire in the apiary is white since bees despise dark colors, associating them with bears – their arch-rivals. Then I noticed for the first time that said cassock was flowing – wildly, another thing bees don’t like but when he started marching in FRONT of the hives (not a good idea) sprinkling the hives using a natural bristled flowing and flinging brush (you get the picture by now) I began to wonder if this was a wise idea. Of course there isn’t a Holy Bee Veil but I guess I just hadn’t thought it all the way through. Well, without a word Father Jason, in a very loud voice, prayed this prayer over the bees, walking back and forth, sprinkling and singing and not a single bee bothered him in the least.
So without smoke, or veil or gloves or silence or white clothing or the usual tiptoeing around the backs of the hives Father Jason performed the ancient ritual of blessing the bees and their homes, just like he does for us each and every year.
Below is the prayer for the bees and the prayer for honey
O Almighty and Pre-eternal God: You hold all creation in the palm of your hands; You possess the heavens, the earth and all that is them; You compassionately grant unto all created things that which is beneficial for them. With compunction, we pray to You, O all-good One: As in ancient times You granted the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey, and as you were well-pleased to nourish Your baptizer John in the wilderness with wild honey, so now by Your good pleasure and caring for our sustenance, bless the beehives in their apiary, greatly increase the number of bees in them, preserve them by Your grace, and fill us rich with honey. Let none of these beehives which You have fashioned be deprived of bees, but let them always be filled with honeycombs of honey. And according to Your great benefits and invincible might, let them be shown undefeated by evils and unshaken by curses. Rather, fenced round about by Your all-powerful might and defended by your armed host, let them always remain unharmed and in Your grasp, O Christ. For Yours it is to be merciful and to save us, O Christ our God, and unto You do we send up glory, honor and worship, together with Your Father and Holy Spirit. Amen.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Whose mercies cannot be contained and Whose bounties are ineffable; Who are wondrous in glory and Who works miracles, Who by the operation of the Holy Spirit once blessed Israel and nourished them with honey from a rock: As the same Lord, look down now from above on this Your work, and with Your heavenly blessing bless and consecrate this honeycomb and the honey that comes from it. Grant to it the action of a blessings beyond all perfection, so that all tasting of it, receiving it and eating it, may find good health, and by this nourishment be satisfied and filled with all good things. For You are He Who bestows all good things, and to You we ascribe glory, together with Your Father Who is without beginning, and Your Most-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.