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GREAT VESPERS

With a Priest

 

(If daily Vespers is not preceded by the Ninth Hour, then the following introductory prayers are said, but otherwise, these are skipped, and "O Come let us worship…." is immediately read):

 

Priest: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

 

O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

 

Reader: Holy God; Holy mighty; Holy immortal: have mercy on us. (Thrice)

 

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

 

All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy God, visit, and heal our infirmities for thy Name's sake.

 

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

 

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

 

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by 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 the evil one.

 

Priest: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

 

Reader: Amen.  Lord, have mercy. (Twelve Times)

 

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

 

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

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

O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and God.


Psalm 103

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul; O Lord my God, Thou hast been magnified exceedingly. Confession and majesty hast Thou put on, Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment, Who stretchest out the heaven as it were a curtain; Who supporteth His chambers in the waters, Who appointeth the clouds for His ascent, Who walketh upon the wings of the winds, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire, Who establisheth the earth in the sureness thereof; it shall not be turned back for ever and ever. The abyss like a garment is His mantle; upon the mountains shall the waters stand. At Thy rebuke they will flee, at the voice of Thy thunder shall they be afraid. The mountains rise up and the plains sink down, unto the place where Thou hast established them.  Thou appointedst a bound that they shall not pass, neither return to cover the earth.  He sendeth forth springs in the valleys; between the mountains will the waters run. They shall give drink to all the beasts of the field; the wild asses will wait to quench their thirst.  Beside them will the birds of the heaven lodge, from the midst of the rocks will they give voice. He watereth the mountains from His chambers; the earth shall be satisfied with the fruit of Thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and green herb for the service of men, To bring forth bread out of the earth; and wine maketh glad the heart of man. To make his face cheerful with oil; and bread strengtheneth man's heart. The trees of the plain shall be satisfied, the cedars of Lebanon, which Thou hast planted. There will the sparrows make their nests; the house of the heron is chief among them. The high mountains are a refuge for the harts, and so is the rock for the hares. He hath made the moon for seasons; the sun knoweth his going down.  Thou appointedst the darkness, and there was the night, wherein all the beasts of the forest will go abroad.  Young lions roaring after their prey, and seeking their food from God. The sun ariseth, and they are gathered together, and they lay them down in their dens. But man shall go forth unto his work, and to his labor until the evening. How magnified are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast Thou made them all; the earth is filled with Thy creation. So is this great and spacious sea, therein are things creeping innumerable, small living creatures with the great. There go the ships; there this dragon, whom Thou hast made to play therein. All things wait on Thee, to give them their food in due season; when Thou givest it them, they will gather it. When Thou openest Thy hand, all things shall be filled with goodness; when Thou turnest away Thy face, they shall be troubled. Thou wilt take their spirit, and they shall cease; and unto their dust shall they return. Thou wilt send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created; and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. Let the glory of the Lord be unto the ages; the Lord will rejoice in His works. Who looketh on the earth and maketh it tremble, Who toucheth the mountains and they smoke. I will sing unto the Lord throughout my life, I will chant to my God for as long as I have my being. May my words be sweet unto Him, and I will rejoice in the Lord. O that sinners would cease from the earth, and they that work iniquity, that they should be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul.

            The sun knoweth his going down, Thou appointedst the darkness, and there was the night.  How magnified are Thy works, O Lord!  In wisdom hast Thou made them all.

 

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

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.  Glory to Thee, O God. (Thrice)

 

When the Introductory Psalm is finished, the deacon, or the priest if there is no deacon, having come out by the north door, and standing in his usual place on the ambo, says this litany:

 

Priest: In peace let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

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

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

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

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

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

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

Priest: For our Metropolitan N., for our Bishop N., for the honorable presbytery, the diaconate in Christ, and for all the clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

Priest: For the President, for all civil authorities, and for the armed forces, let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

(Priest: That He may aid them and subdue under their feet every enemy and adversary, let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.)

 

Priest: For this city (or this village), for every city and country, and for those who in faith dwell therein, let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

Priest: For favorable weather, for abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

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

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

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

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

Priest: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

Priest: Remembering our all-holy, immaculate, most blessed, and glorious Lady, Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

Reader: To Thee O Lord.

 

Priest: For to thee belong all glory, honor, and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

 

Then the proper kathisma of the psalms, followed by the little litany:

 

Priest: Again and again in peace let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

Priest: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by thy grace.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

Priest: Remembering our all-holy, immaculate, most blessed, and glorious Lady, Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

Reader: To thee, O Lord.

 

Priest: For thine is the strength, and Thine are the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

 

The priest or deacon censes the entire church while the readers chant "O Lord, I have cried" in the tone of the first sticheron appointed.

 

O Lord, I have cried unto Thee; hear Thou me. Hear Thou me, O Lord. Lord, I have cried unto Thee; hear Thou me: give ear to the voice of my supplication, when I cry unto Thee. Hear Thou me, O Lord.

 

Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as the incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Hear Thou me, O Lord.

 

And the rest of the verses are read (they can be sung at a vigil) down to the beginning of the stichoi, i.e. the point at which the stichera are inserted.

 

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

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

With men that work iniquity, and I will not communicate with the choicest of them.

The just man shall correct me in mercy and shall reprove me, but let not the oil of the sinner anoint my head.

For my prayer also shall still be against the things with which they are well pleased, their judges falling upon the rock have been swallowed up.

They shall hear my words for they have prevailed. As when the thickness of the earth is broken upon the ground, their bones are scattered by the side of hell.

But to Thee, O Lord, Lord are mine eyes. In Thee have I put my trust; take not away my soul.

Keep me from the snare, which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.

Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape.

I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication.

I poured out my complaint before Him; I showed before Him my trouble.

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then Thou knewest my path.

In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.

I looked on my right hand and beheld, but there was no man that would know me.

Refuge failed me. No one cared for my soul.

I cried unto Thee, O Lord; I said Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.

Attend unto my cry, for I am brought very low.

Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I.

 

If there are 10 stichera (Saturday evenings and Liturgies of the Presanctified):

 

(10) Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy name.

(9) The righteous shall compass me about, for Thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

 

If there are 8 stichera (services of vigil or polyeleos rank):

 

(8) Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.

            (7) Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.

 

If there are 6 stichera (all services of doxology rank, and all simple services, i.e., 6 stichera from the Menaion, or 3 from the Octoechos and 3 from the Menaion):

 

(6) If Thou shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee that Thou mayest be feared.

            (5) Because of Thy name have I waited for Thee, O Lord; my soul hath waited upon Thy word, my soul hath hoped in the Lord.

 

If there are 4 stichera (only at Small Vespers):

 

(4) From the morning watch until night, from the morning watch let Israel hope in the Lord.

            (3) For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption; and He shall deliver Israel from all his iniquities.

            (2) Praise the Lord, all ye nations; praise Him, all ye peoples.

            (1) For His mercy is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endureth forever.

 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

 

Sticheron (Doxasticon) from the Menaion, if there is one. If there is a feast of the Lord or of the Theotokos: "Glory… Both now…" and the Theotokion of the feast.

 

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

 

And the Theotokion.  If it is a Saturday evening, we sing the Dogmaticon of the Sunday tone. If it be a Sunday through Thursday evening, we sing the Theotokion provided in the Menaion service, if there is one.  If not, we sing the proper Theotokion from the back of the Menaion, depending of the rank of the service (i.e., either the Dogmaticon of the tone or the lesser Theotokion of the tone).  If it is a Tuesday or Thursday evening and a simple service, we sing the Stavrotheotokion provided in the Menaion service of the day, or from the Octoechos.  If it is a Friday evening, we sing the Dogmaticon of the tone of the week.

 

Reader: O Gladsome Light of the Holy Glory of the Father Immortal, Heavenly, Holy, blessed Jesus Christ. In that we now are come unto the setting of the sun, and behold the light of evening, we hymn Thee, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: God. For meet is it that at all times Thou shouldst be magnified by voices Holy O Son of God, who bestowest life. For which cause all the world doth glorify Thee.

 

(If it is a simple service, the Vesper Hymn may be read)

 

Priest: The evening prokimenon!

 

THE DAILY PROKIMENA

 

On Saturday evening, the Sixth Tone:

The Lord is King, and hath clothed Himself with majesty.

Stichos 1: The Lord is robed, He is girded with strength.

Stichos 2: For He hath established the world, so that it shall never be moved.

Stichos 3: Holiness befits Thy house, O Lord, forevermore.

 

On Sunday evening, the Eighth Tone: 

Behold now, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord.

Stichos: Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.

 

On Monday evening, the Fourth Tone:

The Lord will hearken unto me when I cry unto Him.

Stichos: When I called upon Thee, O God of my righteousness, Thou didst hearken unto me.

 

On Tuesday evening, the First Tone:

Thy mercy, O Lord, shall pursue me all the days of my life.

Stichos: The Lord is my shepherd, and I shall not want.  In a place of green pasture, there hath He made me to dwell.

 

On Wednesday evening, the Fifth Tone:

O God, in Thy name save me, and in Thy strength do Thou judge me.

Stichos: O God, hearken unto my prayer, give ear unto the words of my mouth.

 

On Thursday evening, the Sixth Tone:

My help cometh from the Lord, Who hath made heaven and the earth.

Stichos: I have lifted up mine eyes to the Mountains, from whence cometh my help.

 

On Friday evening, the Seventh Tone:

O God, my helper art Thou, and Thy mercy shall go before me.

Stichos: Rescue me from mine enemies, O God, and from them that rise up against me redeem me.

 

If there are Scriptural readings appointed for a feast, they are read here.

 

THE LITANY OF FERVENT SUPPUCATION

 

After the prokeimenon, the priest, or deacon, says:

 

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

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

Priest: O Lord Almighty, God of our fathers, we pray thee, hearken and have mercy.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

Priest: Have mercy on us, O God, according to thy great mercy, we pray thee, hearken and have mercy.

Reader: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

 

Priest: Again we pray for pious Orthodox Christians.

Reader: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

 

Priest: Again we pray for our Metropolitan N., for our Bishop N., and for all our brethren in Christ.

Reader: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

 

Priest: Again we pray for the President of (or title of the highest civil authority,) for all civil authorities, and for the armed forces.

Reader: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

 

Priest: Again we pray for our brethren, the priests, the hieromonks, the hierodeacons, and for all our brotherhood in Christ.

Reader: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

 

Priest: Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable most holy Orthodox Patriarchs, the founders of this holy church (or monastery) and all our fathers and brethren the Orthodox gone to rest before us, who lie here and everywhere.

Reader: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

 

Priest: Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, visitation, pardon and forgiveness of the sins of the servant(s) of God, NN., and of the brethren of this holy temple.

Reader: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

 

Priest: Again we pray for those who bear fruit and do good works in this holy and revered temple, for those who labor and those who sing, and for the people present who await of thee great and rich mercy.

Reader: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

 

Priest: For Thou art a merciful God who lovest man, and unto Thee do we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen. Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this evening without sin.  Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and praised and glorified is Thy name unto the ages.  Amen.

Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in Thee.  Blessed art Thou, O Lord, teach me Thy statutes.  Blessed art Thou, O Master, give me understanding of Thy statutes.  Blessed art Thou, O Holy One, enlighten me by Thy statutes.

O Lord, Thy mercy endureth forever; disdain not the work of Thy hands.  To Thee is due praise, to Thee is due a song, to Thee glory is due, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

 

THE LITANY OF SUPLICATION

 

Priest: Let us complete our evening prayer unto the Lord.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

Priest: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

Reader: Lord, have mercy.

 

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

Reader: Grant this, O Lord.

 

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

Reader: Grant this, O Lord.

 

Priest: Pardon and forgiveness of our sins and offenses, let us ask of the Lord.

Reader: Grant this, O Lord.

 

Priest: All things good and useful for our souls and peace for the world, let us ask of the Lord.

Reader: Grant this, O Lord.

 

Priest: That we may end the remaining time of our life in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord.

Reader: Grant this, O Lord.

 

Priest: A Christian ending to our life, painless, unashamed, peaceful, and a good defense before the fearful judgment seat of Christ, let us ask.

Reader: Grant this, O Lord.

 

Priest: Remembering our all-holy, immaculate, most blessed, and glorious Lady, Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

Reader: To Thee O Lord.

 

Priest: For thou art a good God who lovest man, and unto thee do we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

 

Priest: Peace be to all.

Reader: And to thy spirit.

 

Priest: Let us bow our heads unto the Lord.

Reader: To thee, O Lord.

 

Priest: O Lord our God, who didst bow down the heavens and didst come down for the salvation of the race of man, look upon thy servants and upon thine inheritance. Unto thee, the fearful Judge who lovest man, have thy servants bowed their heads and subjected their necks, awaiting not help from man, but expecting thy mercy and looking for thy salvation. Keep them at all times, both during this present evening and during the approaching night, from every enemy, from every adverse operation of the Devil, and from vain thoughts and from evil imaginations. Blessed and glorified be the might of thy kingdom, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

 

THE APOSTICHA

 

The first sticheron of the aposticha, according to the tone of the week.

 

The Lord is King, and hath clothed Himself with majesty. The Lord is robed, He is girded with strength.

 

The second sticheron of the aposticha

 

For He hath established the world, so that it shall never be moved.

 

The third sticheron of the aposticha

 

Holiness befits Thy house, O Lord, forevermore.

 

The fourth sticheron of the aposticha

 

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

 

A doxastikon from the menaion, if appointed

 

Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

 

The appointed theotokion

 

PRAYER OF ST. SIMEON

 

Reader: Lord, now lettest Thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to enlighten the gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.

 

Holy God; Holy mighty; Holy immortal: have mercy on us. (Thrice)

 

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

 

All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy God, visit, and heal our infirmities for thy Name's sake.

 

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

 

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

 

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by 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 the evil one.

 

Priest: For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

People: Amen.

 

APOLYTIKIA

 

The readers chant the Resurrection troparion according to the tone of the week, or the troparion for the great feast, if one is being celebrated.

 

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

 

The Resurrection troparion or troparion for a feast or saint being commemorated

 

Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

 

The Theotokion according to the tone of the week, or the troparion for the great feast, if one is being celebrated.

 

THE GREAT DISMISSAL

 

Priest: Wisdom!

Reader: Father, bless.

 

Priest: Christ our God, the Existing One, is blessed always, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen. Preserve, O God, the holy Orthodox Faith and all Orthodox Christians unto ages of ages. Amen.

 

Priest: Most holy Theotokos, save us.

Reader: More honorable than the cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, thou who without corruption bearest God the Word and art truly Theotokos: We magnify thee.

 

Priest: Glory to Thee, O Christ, our God and our Hope, glory to Thee.

Reader: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Father, bless.

 

Priest: May He who rose again from the dead, Christ, our true God, through the intercessions of his all-immaculate and all-blameless holy Mother, by the might of the precious and life-giving Cross, by the protection of the honorable bodiless powers of heaven, at the supplication of the honorable, glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John, of the holy, glorious and all-laudable apostles, of the holy, glorious and right victorious martyrs, of our venerable and God-bearing fathers, of the Holy Apostle Andrew, patron of this church, of Saint (N) whose memory we celebrate today, and of all the saints, have mercy upon us and save us, forasmuch as He is Good and loveth mankind.

Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord, Jesus Christ our God, have mercy upon us, and save us.

 

Reader: Amen.