THE SERVICE
OF GREAT VESPERS

When it is the time for Vespers, the Priest, together with the Deacon, exit and make a metanoia before President, that is the Abbot, or, in his absence, his Throne, and then enter through the side door to the Holy Sanctuary. They come before the Holy Table and make three matanoias, and the Priest reverences both the Holy Gospel and the Holy Table, while the Deacon only reverences the Holy Table. The Priest takes his epitrachilion, blesses it and puts it on.

Then, standing before the Holy Table, with his head uncovered, and having opened the curtain, he intones:

Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

And the President reads
the introductory psalm.

Come, let us worship and fall down before God our King.

Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and God.

Come, let us worship and fall down before Him, Christ our King, our God.

PSALM 103
(Introductory)

Bless the Lord, my soul! O Lord my God, you have been greatly magnified.

You have clothed yourself with thanksgiving and majesty, wrapping yourself in light as in a cloak,

Stretching out the heavens like a curtain, roofing his upper chambers with waters,

Placing clouds as his mount, walking on the wings of the wind,

Making spirits his Angels and a flame of fire his Ministers,

Establishing the earth on its sure base; it will not be moved to age on age.

The deep, like a cloak, is its mantle; waters will stand upon the mountains.

At your rebuke they will flee; they will quail at the voice of your thunder.

The mountains rise and the plains descend to the place which you established for them.

You fixed a limit that they will not pass, nor will they return to cover the earth.

You send out springs into the valleys; waters will run between the mountains.

They will give drink to all the beasts of the field; the wild asses will await them to quench their thirst.

Beside them the birds of the air will make their dwelling: and sing among the rocks.

He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth will be filled from the fruit of your works.

He makes grass spring up for the cattle, and green herb for the service of mankind; to bring food out of the earth,

And wine makes glad the human heart; to make the face cheerful with oil, and bread strengthens the human heart.

The trees of the plain will be satisfied, the cedars of Lebanon that you planted.

There the sparrows will build their nests; the heron’s dwelling is at their head.

The high mountains are for the deer; rocks a refuge for hares.

He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knew the hour of its setting.

You appointed darkness, and it was night, in which all the beasts of the forest will prowl;

Young lions roaring to plunder and to seek their food from God.

The sun rose and they were gathered together and they will lie down in their dens.

Man will go out to his labor; and to his laboring until evening.

How your works have been magnified, O Lord. With wisdom you have made them all, and the earth has been filled with your creation.

Also this great, wide sea; there are creeping things without number, living creatures small and great.

There ships go to and fro; this dragon which you fashioned to sport in it.

All things look to you to give them their food in due season. When you give it them, they will gather it.

When you open your hand all things will be filled with goodness. But when you turn away your face they will be troubled.

You will take away their spirit, and they will perish and return to their dust.

You will send forth your spirit, and they will be created, and you will renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the Lord endure to the ages. The Lord will rejoice at his works.

He looks upon the earth and makes it tremble. He touches the mountains, and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord while I live; I will praise my God while I exist.

May my words be pleasing to him. While as for me, I shall rejoice in the Lord.

O that sinners might perish from the earth, and the wicked, so that they are no more. Bless the Lord, my soul!

And again

The sun knew the hour of its setting: you made darkness, and it was night.

How your works have been magnified, O Lord. With wisdom you have made them all!

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. Glory to you, O God. (x3) (After the third) Our hope, O Lord, Glory to you.

Litany of Peace

Deacon: In peace, let us pray to
the Lord.

Chanter: Lord, have mercy. (And so after each petition.)

For the peace from above and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

For the peace of the whole world, the good estate of the holy churches of God and the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.

For this holy house and those who with faith, reverence and fear of God enter therein, let us pray to the Lord.

For our father and Archbishop (name), the honorable presbytery, the diaconate in Christ, all the clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord.

For our president, civil authorities and armed forces, let us pray to the Lord.

For this city, every city (or Holy Monastery, land, or island), and countryside and for the faithful who dwell therein, let us pray to the Lord.

For healthful seasons, abundance of the fruits of the earth and peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.

For travelers by sea, land and air, the sick, the suffering, captives and their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

For our deliverance from all tribulation, wrath, danger and necessity, let us pray to the Lord.

Help us; save us; have mercy on us; and keep us, O God, by Your grace.

Chanter: Lord have mercy.

Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorified Lady the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, together all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

Chanter: To you, O Lord.

The Priest exclaims: For to You are due all glory, honor and worship, to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Chanter: Amen.

PSALM 140

Lord, I have cried unto You; hear me. Hear me, O Lord. Lord, I have cried unto you; hear me. Attend to the voice of my supplication when I cry unto You; hear me, O Lord.

Let my prayer be set forth as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice; hear me, O Lord.

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth and a protecting door about my lips.

Incline not my heart to evil words to make excuses in sins.

With those who work iniquity; and I will not associate with the choicest of them.

Let the righteous man chasten me with mercy and reprove me; as for the oil of the sinner, let it not anoint my head.

For even my prayer is against their good pleasure. Their judges have been swallowed up like a rock.

The shall hear my words, for they are sweet. As a clod of earth is broken on the ground, so their bones are scattered by the side of Hades.

For to You, O Lord, O Lord, are my eyes; I have hoped in You; take not away my soul.

Keep me from the snare which they have laid for me, and from the stumbling blocks of those who work iniquity.

The sinners shall fall into their own net. I am apart from them until I pass away.

PSALM 140

With my voice, to the Lord have I cried; with my voice, to the Lord have I made my supplication.

I shall pour out before Him my supplication; my affliction before Him shall I declare,

As my spirit is departing from within me; and You knew my paths.

In this way on which I was walking they hid a snare for me.

I looked to my right and beheld, and there was no one that knew me.

There is no escape for me, and no one searching for my soul.

I cried to You, O Lord; I said: You are my hope, You are my portion in the land of the living.

Attend to my supplication; for I have been greatly humbled.

Deliver me from those who pursue me, for they have become stronger than I.

At Lord I have cried

Stichera.

The stichera are sung together with the following verses, where there are 10.

Verse 1. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may confess your name.

Verse 2. The just will await me, until you reward me.

The stichera are sung together with the following verses, where there are 8.

Verse 3. Out of the depths I have cried to you, O Lord. Lord hear my voice.

Verse 4. Let your ears be attentive, to the voice of my supplication.

The stichera are sung together with the following verses, where there are 6.

Verse 5. If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who will stand? But there is forgiveness with you.

Verse 6. For your name’s sake I have waited for you, O Lord. My soul has waited on your word. My soul has hoped in the Lord.

Verse 7. From the morning watch until night, from the morning watch, let Israel hope in the Lord.

Verse 8. For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him plentiful redemption, and he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Verse 9. Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise him all you peoples.

Verse 10. For his mercy has been mighty towards us, and the truth of the Lord endures to the ages.

And the Priest says this prayer silently.

PRAYER OF THE ENTRANCE

At evening, at morning and at midday we praise, bless and give thanks, and we pray to you, Master of all things, Lord who love mankind: Direct our prayer before you like incense, and do not incline our hearts to words or thoughts of evil, but deliver us from all that hunt down our souls. For our eyes look to you, O Lord, our Lord, and we have hoped in you.

For to you belong all glory, honor and worship, to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Entrance.

Wisdom. Arise!

O joyful Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father, O Jesus Christ. Now that we have come to the setting of the sun and see the evening light, we sing the praise of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is right at all times to hymn you with holy voices, Son of God, giver of life. Therefore the world glorifies you.

 Deacon: The Evening Prokeimenon.

 Prokeimenon of the day.

If there are readings, the reader reads them in the center of the temple. And before each reading, he exclaims its title, and the deacon, responds: Wisdom, Let us attend, if it is from the Old Testament, and: Let us attend, wisdom, Let us attend, if it is an Apostolic reading.

Deacon: Let us all say, with all our soul and with all our mind, let us say.

Chanter: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Lord almighty, the God of our fathers, we pray you, hear and have mercy.

Chanter: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Have mercy on us, O God, according to your great mercy, we pray you, hear and have mercy.

Chanter: Lord, have mercy. Three times. And so after the remaining petitions.

Deacon: Also we pray for our Arch–
bishop N.

Again we pray for our brothers and sisters, the priests, hieromonks, hierodeacons, all monastics and all of our brotherhood in Christ.

Also we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, visitation, pardon and forgiveness of sins for the servants of God, all devout and Orthodox Christians, those who dwell in or visit this city and parish, the parish council and members of this church and their families.

Also we pray for the blessed and ever-remembered founders of this holy church, and for all our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest before us, and who lie asleep here in the true faith; and for the Orthodox everywhere.

Also we pray for those who bring offerings, those who care for the beauty of this holy and venerable house, for those who labour in its service, for those who sing, and for the people here present, who await your great and rich mercy.

The Priest exclaims: For you, O God, are merciful, and love mankind, and to you we give glory, to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

Chanter: Amen.

The President (or the Reader):

Grant, Lord, to keep us this evening without sin. Blessed are you, Lord, the God of our fathers, and praised and glorified is your name to the ages. Amen. Let your mercy, Lord be upon us, as we have hoped in you. Blessed are you, Lord: teach me your statutes. Blessed are you, Master: make me understand your statutes. Blessed are you, Holy One: enlighten me with your statutes. Lord, your mercy is for ever; do not scorn the work of your hands. To you praise is due, to you song is due, to you glory is due, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Then the deacon says the Completion Litany, and the Chanter responds to the first two petitions with: Lord, have mercy, and to the following six with: Grant this O Lord,  and to the final petition with: To You O Lord.

Deacon: Let us complete our evening prayer to the Lord.

Chanter: Lord, have mercy.

Help us, save us, have mercy on us and keep us, O God, by your grace.

That the whole evening may be perfect, holy, peaceful and sinless, let us ask of the Lord.

Chanter: Grant this, O Lord. (And the rest of the petitions)

An angel of peace, a faithful guide, a guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask of the Lord.

Pardon and forgiveness of our sins and offences, let us ask of the Lord.

Things good and profitable for our souls, and peace for the world, let us ask of the Lord.

That we may live out the rest of our days in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord.

A Christian end to our life, painless, unashamed and peaceful, and a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ, let us ask.

Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorified Lady the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, together all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

Chanter: To you, O Lord.

The Priest exclaims: For you are a good God and love mankind, and to you do we give glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, always, now and forever, and to the ages of ages.

Chanter: Amen.

Priest: Peace be to all.

Chanter: And to your spirit.

Priest: Let us bow our heads unto the Lord.

Chanter: To you, O Lord.

And as everyone bows their head,
the Priest reads the prayer quietly.

THE PRAYER OF THE
BOWING OF THE HEADS

Lord our God, who bowed the heavens and came down for the salvation of the human race, look upon your servants and upon your inheritance, for to you, the fearful Judge who love mankind, your servants have bowed their heads and inclined their necks, not waiting for any human help, but awaiting your mercy and looking for your salvation. Guard them at every moment, during both the present evening and the approaching night, from every foe, from every hostile operation of the devil and from vain thoughts and evil desires.

The Priest exclaims: Blessed and glorified be the might of your kingdom, of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

Chanter: Amen.

If there is no Artoclasia see page 20 , the Aposticha are stung immediately, while the deacon enters the Sanctuary and removes his vestments. 

THE LITI WITH ARTOCLASIA

(As celebrated in the Parishes)

If there is an Artoclasia, the loaves are placed in the center of the Temple; and an idiomelon of the Liti of the feast being celebrated is sung. The Priest with the Deacon exit the Sanctuary with lights and censor and the icon of the feast and make a procession in the temple coming and standing in the center of the temple.

At the completion of the idiomelon, the Deacon says:

Deacon:  Have mercy on us, O God, according to Your great mercy, we pray You hear us and have mercy.

Chanter: Lord, have mercy. (x3). (And after each petition)

Deacon: Again we pray for our Archbishop (N.) and all our brotherhood in Christ.

Again we pray for our president and all those in civil authority.

Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, visitation, pardon and remission of the sins of the servants of God; of the members of this parish, the council members and benefactors of this holy temple and of the servants of God (he commemorates the names of those who prepared the loaves), and of all those who celebrate this holy feast and have offered these gifts.

Again we pray for the protection of this holy Church and city (or land or island) and every city and land from plague, famine, earthquake, flood, fire, the sword, invasion by enemies, civil war and sudden death; and that our good God who loves mankind will be merciful, kindly and easily entreated, turn away and dispel all wrath and disease stirred up against us, and deliver us from his just threat that hangs over us, and have mercy upon us.

Chanter: Lord, have mercy. (40x). (four sets of ten) 

Again we pray that the Lord our God will hear the voice of our prayer of us sinners and have mercy upon us.

Chanter: Lord, have mercy. (3x).

The Priest prays in a great voice:

Hear us, O God, our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and those far off upon the sea: have pity, have pity, Master, on our sins, and have mercy upon us. For you O God are merciful, and love mankind, and to you we give glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

Chanter: Amen.

And the Priest blessing the people: Peace be to all.

Chanter: And to your spirit.

Deacon:  Let us bow our heads unto the Lord.

Chanter: To you, O Lord.

And as everyone bows their head, the Priest prays:

Most merciful Master, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, through the prayers of our all-pure Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary; by the power of the precious and life-giving Cross; through the protection of the honored Bodiless Powers of heaven; through the intercessions of the honored, glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John; of the holy, glorious and all-praised Apostles; of the holy, glorious and triumphant martyrs, of our venerable and Godbearing Fathers, (of the Saint of the temple) of the holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna, of Saint (of the day) whom we are commemorating today, and of all your saints: make our supplication acceptable; grant us the forgiveness of our offences; shelter us in the shelter of your wings; drive from us every foe and enemy; make our life peaceful. Lord, have mercy on us and on your world, and save our souls, for you are good and love mankind.

Chanter: Amen.

Then the Priest censes the loaves crosswise singing: Virgin, Theotokos, while the deacon, holding a candle stands opposite him with his head bowed.

Mode 5.

Virgin Theotokos * hail Mary, full of grace*  the Lord is with you * blessed are you among women * and blessed is the fruit of your womb *  

And the Chanter completes: For you gave birth to the Savior of our souls. 

Deacon:  Let us pray to the Lord.

Chanter:  Lord, have mercy.

And the Priest, taking one loaf, blessing it, prays in a great voice:

PRAYER
OF THE ARTOCLASIA

Lord Jesus Christ our God, who blessed the five loaves in the desert, and from them fed five thousand, bless these loaves also, this wheat, wine and oil, and multiply them in this city (or land or island) and in all your world, and sanctify your faithful servants who partake of them.

For it is you who bless and sanctify all things, Christ our God, and to you we give glory, with your Father who is without beginning, and you all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

Chanter: Amen.

This is repeated by the Chanters two times.

Mode Varys.

The rich have become poor and hungry * while those who seek the Lord * will not lack any good thing.

After the Artoclasia, while the Priest with the Deacon enter the Sanctuary, the Chanters sing the Aposticha.

THE APOSTICHA

And the Aposticha are sung according to the usual order. On Saturday evening, we use the following verses:

Verse. The Lord is King: he has robed himself in majesty. The Lord has robed and girded himself with power.

Verse. He has made the world firm; it will not be shaken.

Verse. Holiness befits your house, O Lord, to length of days.

After the completion of the Aposticha, the High Priest or the President, or the Priest say the Ode of Symeon the God-bearer.

Now, Master, you let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your Salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a Light to bring revelation to the nations, and the Glory of your people Israel.

The Reader reads the Trisagion

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (x3)

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Always now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for your name’s sake.

Lord have mercy (x3) Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Always now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

then making a metanoia, he kisses the hand of the High Priest or the President, if he presides. The Priest, from within the Sanctuary, exclaims:

For yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, always now and forever and to the ages of ages.

Chanter: Amen.

Resurrectional Apolytikion.

After these, the Great Dismissal is done as follows:

Deacon: Wisdom.

Priest: Blessed is he who is Christ our God, always now and forever, and to the ages of ages.

Chanter: Amen.

The High Priest
or the President or the Reader: May the Lord God strengthen the holy and pure faith of devout and orthodox Christians, with his holy Church and this city (or land, Monastery, island), unto ages of ages.

Chanter: Amen.

The Priest: Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The Reader says: Greater in honor than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word; truly the Theotokos, we magnify you.

The Priest, before the Beautiful Gate

The Priest: Glory to you, Christ God, our hope, glory to you.

The Reader: Glory. Now and Always. Lord have mercy (x3). Holy Father, give the blessing.

The Priest: May Christ our true God (if the feast falls on a Sunday: and Who rose from the dead), at the prayers of his most pure and holy Mother, our Lady, the Theotokos, and ever-virgin Mary; the protection of the honorable Bodiless Powers of heaven; the intercessions of the holy, glorious and all-praised Apostles; of Saint N. (the patron of the church or Monastery); of the holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anne; of Saint(s) N., whose memory we celebrate today, and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, for he is good and loves mankind.

The Priest: Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy upon us and save us.

Chanter: Amen.