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 THE HIERATIKON

 

GREAT VESPERS

FOR SATURDAY EVENING AND FEASTS 

 

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After the Dismissal of the Ninth Hour, the Priest shall say:

Blessed is our God always, now and for ever: world without end.

And after saying Amen, the Bishop [Abbot or Reader] shall read the introductory psalm. Meanwhile, the Priest shall bless the Deacons vestments saying Blessed is our God…and then say the following prayers.

 

THE VESPERS PRAYERS

 

1st PRAYER

O Lord who art gracious and full of compassion; longsuffering and plenteous in mercy: give ear to our prayer, and attend to the voice of our supplications. Shew us a token for good. Teach us Thy way that we may walk in Thy truth. Rejoice our hearts to fear Thy Holy Name. For Thou art great and doest wondrous things. Thou art God alone, and there is none like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods, mighty in mercy, gracious in strength to succour, comfort and save all who put their trust in Thy Holy Name.

For unto Thee belong all glory, honour and worship, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

 

2nd PRAYER

O Lord, rebuke us not in Thy wrath; neither chasten us in Thy hot displeasure: But deal with us according unto Thy mercy, O Physician and Healer of our souls, who dost lead us into the haven of Thy will. Enlighten the eyes of our understanding to the knowledge of Thy truth; and grant that the remainder of this day, and our whole life, may be peaceful and without sin, by the prayers of the Holy Mother of God, and of all Thy saints.

For Thine is the might, and Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

 

3rd PRAYER

O Lord our God, remember us sinners and Thine unprofitable servants, when we call upon Thy Holy and honoured Name, and confound not our expectation of Thy mercy; But fulfil, O Lord, all our petitions which are unto salvation, and vouchsafe that we may love and fear Thee with our whole heart, and do Thy will in all things.

For Thou, O God, art good and loving-kind, and to Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

 

4th PRAYER

O Thou unto whom the multitude of the heavenly host doth sing eternal glory: Let our mouths be filled with Thy praise that we may magnify Thy Holy Name. And grant unto us a portion and inheritance with all them that fear Thee in truth and keep Thy commandments; by the prayers of the Mother of God, and of all Thy saints.

For unto Thee belong all glory, honour and worship, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

 

5th PRAYER

Lord, Lord, who upholdest all things in Thy most pure hands; who art long-suffering unto us all and doth repent Thee of our evils: Remember Thy tender mercies and Thy loving-kindnesses. Visit us with Thy bounties and by Thy grace keep us for the remainder of this day from the snares of the devil, and preserve our lives from every wicked device; by the grace of Thy most Holy Spirit.

Through the mercy and love toward mankind of Thine only-begotten Son, with whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy most holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

 

6th PRAYER

O great and wonderful God, who of thine unsearchable goodness and rich providence dost order all things, and hast bestowed on us the good of the land, Who hast given us a pledge of the promised kingdom through the benefits already granted unto us, and to this present hour hath caused evil to depart from us: Vouchsafe that we may complete the remainder of this day undefiled before Thy Holy Glory, and sing unto Thee, Thou only who art good, our God which lovest mankind.

For Thou art our God, and to Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

 

7th PRAYER

O Great and most high God, who only hath immortality, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto; Who in wisdom didst make all Thy works; Who divided the light from the darkness, Who made the sun to rule the day, Who made the moon and the stars to rule the night; Who hast vouchsafed unto us sinners at this present hour to come before Thy presence with thanksgiving, and praise and glory: Do Thou Thyself of Thy loving-kindness let our prayer be set before Thee as incense, and accept it for a sweetsmelling savour. And grant that we may pass this eventide and the coming night in peace. Clothe us with the armour of light. Deliver us from the terror by night, from pestilence that walketh in darkness. Grant that the sleep which Thou hast appointed for the repose of our weakness be estranged from all wicked imaginations. Yea, O Mater, bestower of all blessings, may we commune with our own hearts upon our beds, and be still and call to remembrance Thy Name in the night season: That enlightened by meditation of Thy commandments we may rise up with joyful soul to glorify Thy goodness, with prayers and supplications beseeching for Thy mercy on our own sins and for the sins of all Thy people, whom do Thou visit in clemency through the intercessions of the holy Mother of God.

For Thou, O God, art good and loving-kind, and to Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

 

After the introductory psalm, the Deacon shall say the Great litany.

In peace let us pray unto the Lord.

CHOIR: Kyrie eleison or Lord have mercy. And after each petition.

For the peace from on high, and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray unto the Lord.

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

For this holy temple and for them that enter therein with faith, reverence and fear of God, let us pray unto the Lord.

For our Archbishop [Name], for the honourable order of priesthood, and for the diaconate which is in Christ, for all the clergy and the people, let us pray unto the Lord.

For this city [village, monastery]; for every city and land, and for them that dwell therein with faith, let us pray unto the Lord.

For fair seasons and the abundance of the fruits of the earth, let us pray unto the Lord.

For them that travel by land, by water, by air; for the sick and the suffering, For those in captivity, And for their salvation, let us pray unto the Lord.

That we may be deliver from all tribulation, wrath, danger and necessity, let us pray unto the Lord.

Succour, save, have mercy and preserve us, O God, by Thy grace.

Mindful of our most holy and undefiled, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, and of all the saints; Let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

CHOIR: To Thee, O Lord.

 

PRIEST

For unto Thee belong all glory, honour and worship, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Spirit; now and for ever: world without end.

CHOIR: Amen.

In monasteries there now follows the reading of the 1st Kathisma from the Psalter. If the feast is for a celebrating saint, then only the first reading of the 1st Kathisma is read; after which the Deacon shall say the short litany.

Again and again in peace let us pray unto the Lord.

CHOIR: Kyrie eleison or Lord have mercy. And after each petition.

Succour, save, have mercy and preserve us, O God, by Thy grace.

Mindful of our most holy and undefiled, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, and of all the saints; Let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

CHOIR: To Thee, O Lord.

 

PRIEST

For Thine is the might, and Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end.

CHOIR: Amen.

And immediately the choir shall sing Lord I have cried”.

The Deacon taking up the censer shall say:

Master, bless the incense.

 The Priest shall bless the incense saying:

Blessed is our God always, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

Then at the words “Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense” the Deacon shall cense the Sanctuary and all the temple in the customary way. During the singing of the “Glory… Now and for ever…” the Priest and the Deacon shall make the Little Entrance. The Deacon taking up the censer shall say:

Master, bless the incense.

PRIEST

Blessed is our God always, now and for ever: world without end.

And the Deacon preceding, they shall pass behind the Altar and go out by the north door. And standing in the customary places both shall bow their heads, and the Deacon shall say:

Let us pray unto the Lord.

PRIEST

Evening, and morning, and at noon we praise Thee, we bless Thee, we give thanks unto Thee, and we pray unto Thee, O Master of all: Let our prayer be set forth before Thee as incense; and incline not our hearts to any evil thing. But keep us from all who would lay a snare for our souls; For our eyes wait upon Thee, O Lord. In Thee, O Lord, is our trust. Confound us not, O God.

For unto Thee belong all glory, honour and worship, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

DEACON

Master, bless the Holy Entrance.

And the Priest giving the benediction shall say:

Blessed is the entrance into the holiest, always, now and for ever: world without end.

DEACON: Amen.

And he shall cense the throne and the Icons of the Iconostasis. Then holding the censer high he shall cry in a loud voice:

Wisdom. Stand steadfast.

And the choir shall sing the evening hymnO Gladsome light”.

O Gladsome light of the holy glory, of the Immortal Father, heavenly, holy, blessed, Jesus Christ. As we approach the setting of the sun, and see the evening light, we hymn Thee, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God.

Meet it is at all times for Thee to be praised by righteous voices, O Son of God, the Giver of life. Wherefore the world glorifies Thee.

Meanwhile the Priest and the Deacon shall enter the Sanctuary through the Holy Doors. The Deacon shall cense the Altar and all the Sanctuary. [But if vespers is sung with two or more priests, then they shall sing the evening hymn. At the words “As we approach” the Deacon shall again cense as before and at the words “Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God” the priests shall enter the Sanctuary, the Deacon all the while censing them as they enter.] Having done this, he shall stand before the Holy Doors facing the people and cry:

The Evening Prokhimenon.

The choir shall sing the prokhimenon of the day. If there are lessons from the Old Testament appointed to be read [normally there are 3 readings commonly called the prophecies], the Reader shall announce the reading and the Deacon shall say before each:

Wisdom. Let us give heed.

If the readings are from the New Testament [commonly called the Apostle], he shall say before each:

Let us give heed. Wisdom. Let us give heed.

After the readings the Deacon shall say the following petitions:

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

CHOIR: Kyrie eleison [3] And after each petition.

O Almighty Lord, God of our fathers, we pray Thee, hear us and have mercy.

Have mercy upon us, O God, after Thy great goodness. We pray Thee, hear us and have mercy.

Again we pray for our Archbishop [Name], and for all our brethren in Christ.

Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, visitation, forgiveness and remission of the sins of the servants of God, [Names] who observe this holy Feast; (and) all the pious Orthodox Christians who dwell or visit this city [town, village, monastery], the parishioners, the Church committee, those who give help and those who have dedicated gifts in this holy temple.

Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable founders of this holy Church [monastery] and for all our departed fathers, brethren, and Orthodox Christians everywhere who have fallen asleep.

Again we pray for them that strive and bring forth the fruit of good works in this holy and venerable temple; for them that serve, and them that sing; and for all the people here present who await Thy great and bountiful mercy.

 

PRIEST

For Thou art a merciful God, and a lover of mankind, and to Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

The Reader shall then read the evening prayerVouchsafe O Lord”. After the prayer, the Deacon continues:

Let us complete our supplication unto the Lord.

Succour, save, have mercy and preserve us O God, by Thy grace.

That this whole evening may be perfect, holy, peaceful and without sin, let us entreat the Lord.

CHOIR: Grant us O Lord. And after each petition.

For an angel of peace, faithful guide and guardian of our souls and bodies, let us entreat the Lord.

For pardon and remission of our sins and transgression, let us entreat the Lord.

For things good and profitable to our souls, and peace for the world, let us entreat the Lord.

That we may pass the remainder of our lives in peace and repentance, let us entreat the Lord.

For a Christian ending to our life, painless, without shame and peaceful, and a good defence before the dread judgement seat  of

Christ, let us entreat the Lord.

Mindful of our most holy and undefiled, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary; and of all the saints; Let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

CHOIR: To Thee, O Lord.

 

PRIEST

For Thou, O God, art good and loving-kind, and we ascribe glory to Thee, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end.

CHOIR: Amen.

PRIEST: Peace unto all.

DEACON: Let us bow down our heads before the Lord.

CHOIR: To Thee, O Lord.

 

PRIEST

O Lord our God, who bows the heavens and comest down for the salvation of mankind, look upon Thy servants and upon Thine inheritance. For unto Thee, the formidable Judge, who lovest mankind, have Thy servants bowed their heads, and submissively inclined their necks, expecting not help from men, but awaiting for Thy mercy and hoping for Thy salvation which do Thou preserve them at all times, during this present evening and in the approaching night, from every enemy, from all adverse powers of the devil, from vain thoughts and from evil imaginations.

Blessed and glorified is the power of Thy kingdom, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end.

CHOIR: Amen.

The Lity follows when there is an offering of the five loaves; know as the “Breaking of Bread”. [See The Breaking of Bread]. After the Aposticha the Priest shall say the “Song of Symeon”:

Lord, now lettest 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 people. A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.

After the Trisagion and the Lord’s Prayer, the Priest shall say:

For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end.

CHOIR: Amen.

The choir shall then sing the Apolytikia hymns and the Theotokion and the Deacon shall say:

Wisdom.

PRIEST

Christ our God, the Supreme Being, is blessed always, now and for ever: world without end.

CHOIR: Amen.

PRIEST: Glory be to Thee, O Christ our God and our hope, glory be to Thee.

CHOIR: Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

Kyrie eleison [3]. Holy Father, give the blessing.

 

PRIEST:

May [He who is risen from the dead] Christ our true God, by the prayers of His most holy Mother; by the power of the precious and life-giving Cross; by the protection of the heavenly bodiless hosts; through the supplications of the glorious Prophet and Forerunner, John the Baptist; of the holy and all-glorious Apostles; of the holy, glorious and triumphant martyrs; of our holy God-bearing fathers; of [Name of the saint to whom the Church is dedicated]; of the holy and righteous progenitors of God, Joachim and Anna; [Name of saint, to whose memory we dedicate this day], and of all the saints, have mercy upon us, and save our souls: For He is good and loving-kind.

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

CHOIR: Amen.

 

The Priest should give special attention to the following:

 

1) If the temple is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, or to Christ the Saviour, or to the Mother of God, or to the Precious Cross, or to the Archangels, or to the Forerunner John the Baptist, then commemoration of them is not made at the place appointed for the saint to whom the Church is dedicated.

2) If the feast being celebrated is a feast of the Lord, commemoration of it is not made at the place appointed for the saint of the day because characterization of the feast is made at the beginning of the Dismissal.

3) At the place appointed for the saint of the day, commemoration is never made

a) Of the Lord’s Feasts,

b) The Forefeasts and the Afterfeasts,

c) the leave-taking of the feast,

d) a remembrance of an event, e.g. the remembrance of a consecration, an earthquake, the finding of an Icon or the finding of relics etc.

4) Commemoration of the saint of the day is not always made at the appointed place e.g.

a) Feasts of the mother of God: having said “By the prayers of His most holy Mother” we add the characterization of the feast saying, whose Dormition [or Entry into the temple, or Birth, etc] we celebrate.

b) Feasts of the Precious Cross: having said “By the power of the precious and life-giving Cross” we add, whose Exaltation [or Veneration, or Procession] we celebrate.

c) Feasts of St. John the Baptist: having said “through the supplications of the glorious Forerunner and Prophet John the Baptist” we add, whose Birth [or Conception, or Beheading etc] we celebrate.

5) Saints who are commemorated in the Dismissal throughout the year can be commemorated in their appointed place and there add the words “to whose memory we dedicate this day” or can be removed from there and inserted in the place for the saint of the day.

6) Feasts that commemorate the translation of a saint’s relics are commemorated by adding the words “of whose translation of his [her] relics we celebrate.

 

The various ranks of saints are commemorated thus:

 

PROPHET – of the holy and righteous Prophet…

 

FOREFATHER – of the holy and righteous Forefather…

 

RIGHTEOUS – of the holy and righteous…

 

APOSTLE – of the holy and all-glorious Apostle…

 

EVANGELIST – of the holy and all-glorious Apostle and Evangelist…

 

MARTYR – of the holy and glorious Martyr [Greatmartyr, Protomartyr,  Newmartyr, Hieromartyr]…

HIERARCH – of our father among the saints…

 

ASCETIC – of our holy God-bearing father…

                   - of our holy mother…

ASCETIC MARTYR – of our holy father and martyr…

                                     -  of our holy mother and martyr…  

 

In the Church calendar many saints have the same name. To distinguish one saint from the other, they are given a special epithet after their name e.g. the Wonderworker, the Outpourer of myrrh, the Victory bearer, the Sanctified, the Great, the Stylite, the Theologian, etc.

 

Most Hierarchs are distinguished by the place of their See e.g. Nicholas of Myra, Athanasius of Alexandria. John Chrysostom Archbishop of Constantinople, Spiridon of Trimythounta, etc.

 

Many other saints also have place names for epithets or their nationality e.g. Theodore of Tyro, Seraphim of Sarov, James the Persian, Isaac the Syrian, Silouan the Athonite, etc.