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THE CHOIR'S HANDBOOK

 

THE FIRST HOUR

 

 

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The First Hour

If the First Hour is to be read immediately after Mattins then the service begins from * O come, let us worship and bow down before our King and our God (see below). Otherwise the Priest shall give the opening blessing.

 

PRIEST

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

READER: Amen.

PRIEST: Glory be to Thee, our God, glory be to Thee.

O heavenly King and Comforter, Spirit of Truth, that art in all places and fillest all things, Treasure of goodness, and Giver of life: come and abide in us; and cleanse us from all that defileth, and save our souls, O Thou who art Good.

READER

O Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us. (3)

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

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy upon us; O Lord, cleanse us from our sins; O Master, pardon our transgressions; O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name’s sake.

Kyrie eleison (3)

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

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

PRIEST

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.

READER: Amen.

Kyrie eleison. (12)

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

* If the First Hour is to be read immediately after Mattins then the service begins from here.

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

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

O come, let us worship and bow down before the very Christ our King and our God.

Psalm 5

Hearken to my words, O Lord, attend to my cry. Attend to the voice of my supplication, my King, and my God: for to thee, O Lord, will I pray. In the morning thou shalt hear my voice: in the morning will I wait upon thee, and will look up. For thou art not a god that desires iniquity; neither shall the worker of wickedness dwell with thee. Neither shall the transgressors continue in thy sight: thou hatest, O Lord, all them that work iniquity. Thou wilt destroy all that speak falsehood: the Lord abhors the bloody and deceitful man. But I will enter into thine house in the multitude of thy mercy: I will worship in thy fear toward thy holy temple. Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make my way plain before thy face. For there is no truth in their mouth; their heart is vain; their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit. Judge them, O God; let them fail of their counsels: cast them out according to the abundance of their ungodliness; for they have provoked thee, O Lord. But let all that trust on thee be glad in thee: they shall exult for ever, and thou shalt dwell among them; and all that love thy name shall rejoice in thee. For thou, Lord, shalt bless the righteous: thou hast compassed us as with a shield of favour.

Psalm 89

Lord, thou hast been our refuge in all generations. Before the mountains existed, and before the earth and the world were formed, even from age to age, Thou art. Turn not man back to his low place, whereas thou saidst, Return, ye sons of men? For a thousand years in thy sight are as the yesterday which is past, and as a watch in the night. Years shall be vanity to them: let the morning pass away as grass. In the morning let it flower, and pass away: in the evening let it droop, let it be withered and dried up. For we have perished in thine anger, and in thy wrath we have been troubled. Thou hast set our transgressions before thee: our age is in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are gone, and we have passed away in thy wrath: our years have spun out their tale as a spider. As for the days of our years, in them are seventy years; and if men should be in strength, eighty years: and the greater part of them would be labour and trouble; for weakness overtakes us, and we shall be chastened. Who knows the power of thy wrath? and who knows how to number his days because of the fear of thy wrath? So manifest thy right hand, and those that are instructed in wisdom in the heart. Return, O Lord, how long? and be intreated concerning thy servants. We have been satisfied in the morning with thy mercy; and we did exult and rejoice: let us rejoice in all our days, in return for the days wherein thou didst afflict us, the years wherein we saw evil. And look upon thy servants, and upon thy works; and guide their children. And let the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us: and do thou direct for us the works of our hands.

Psalm 100

I will sing to thee, O Lord, of mercy and judgment; I will sing a psalm, and I will be wise in a blameless way. When wilt thou come to me? I walked in the innocence of my heart, in the midst of my house. I have not set before mine eyes any unlawful ting; I have hated transgressors. A perverse heart has not cleaved to me; I have not known an evil man, forasmuch as he turns away from me. Him that privily speaks against his neighbour, him have I driven from me: he that is proud in look and insatiable in heart, — with him I have not eaten. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walked in a perfect way, the same ministered to me. The proud doer dwelt not in the midst of my house; the unjust speaker prospered not in my sight. Early did I slay all the sinners of the land, that I might destroy out of the city of the Lord all that work iniquity.

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

Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. Glory be to Thee, O God. (3)

Kyrie eleison. (3)

If at Mattins we sung "God is the Lord and hath appeared unto us..." we say:

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

and then the Apolytikion of the day.

Now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

Theotokion

What shall we call thee, O Full of grace? Heaven? For thou hast made the Sun of Righteousness to rise. Paradise? For thou hast blossomed the flower of incorruption Virgin? For thou hast remained inviolate. Pure Mother? For thou hast held in thy holy embrace a Son who is God of all. Beseech Him for the salvation of our souls.

But if at Mattins we sung "Alleluia" (During weekdays of Great Lent) then we sing the following in tone 6:

In the morning hearken unto my voice, O my king and my God.

Verse: Hearken to my words, O Lord, attend to my cry.

In the morning hearken unto my voice, O my king and my God.

Verse: For to thee, O Lord, will I pray.

In the morning hearken unto my voice, O my king and my God.

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

Theotokion

What shall we call thee, O Full of grace? Heaven? For thou hast made the Sun of Righteousness to rise. Paradise? For thou hast blossomed the flower of incorruption Virgin? For thou hast remained inviolate. Pure Mother? For thou hast held in thy holy embrace a Son who is God of all. Beseech Him for the salvation of our souls.

And then

Order my steps according to Thy word, and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

Deliver me from the false accusation of men, and I will keep Thy commandments.

Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant, and teach me Thy statutes.

Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise, O Lord, that I may sing Thy glory and majesty all the day long.

The Last verse is said three times

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the 4th week of Great Lent, instead of the verses "Order my steps according to Thy word..." we sing the following in Tone 2:

Thy Cross, O Master, do we venerate, and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify.

Then

O Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us. (3)

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

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy upon us; O Lord, cleanse us from our sins; O Master, pardon our transgressions; O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name’s sake.

Kyrie eleison. (3)

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

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

PRIEST

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.

READER: Amen.

We then read the Kontakion of the saint of the day or the Kontakion of the present feast. But if at Mattins we sung "Alleluia"(During weekdays of Great Lent)  then we say the following:  

On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday:

The Most glorious Mother of God, more holy than the holy angels, let us hymn unceasingly with our heart and mouth, confessing her to be the Theotokos, for verily she didst give birth to God incarnate, and dost pray unceasingly for our souls.

On Wednesday and Friday:

Hasten to our aid, before we be enslaved to the enemies that blaspheme Thee and threaten us, O Christ our God. Destroy by Thy Cross them that war against us, let them learn the might of the Orthodox Faith; through the intercessions of the Mother of God, O only Lover of mankind.

On Saturday

As first-fruits of nature the world offers to Thee, O Lord and husbandman of creation, the God-bearing Martyrs. By their intercessions and through the Mother of God, preserve Thy Church in profound peace, O most Merciful.

On Sundays we say the Hypakoe from the Octoechos in the Tone of the week.

During the 4th week of Great Lent we say the Kontakion for the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross.

Tone 7

No longer does the flaming sword guard the gate of Eden, for a marvelous quenching is come upon it, even the Tree of the Cross. The sting has been taken from death, and the victory from Hades. And, thou, O my Saviour, hast appeared unto those in Hades saying: Enter again into Paradise.

Kyrie eleison or Lord have mercy. (40)

O Thou, who at all times and every hour, art worshipped and glorified, Christ our God, who art long-suffering, plenteous in mercy and ever-compassionate, who lovest the righteous and hast mercy upon sinners, who callest all to salvation through the promise of the blessings to come: Do Thou, O Lord, at this very hour accept our supplications, and direct our lives in the way of Thy commandments. Sanctify our souls, purify our bodies, correct our reasoning, cleanse our thoughts: and deliver us from all affliction, evil and pain. Compass us about with Thy holy angels, that being guarded and guided by their interposition, we mat attain unto the unity of the faith, and to the knowledge of Thine unapproachable glory: For blessed art Thou, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Kyrie eleison. (3)

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

More honourable than the cherubim and past compare more glorious than the seraphim, who inviolate didst bear God the Word, very Mother of God, thee we magnify.

In the name of the Lord, Father, give the blessing.

PRIEST

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us and have mercy upon us.

* In Great Lent the priest does not say the following prayer and dismissal but the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim (see below).

O Christ, the true light who enlightens and sanctifies every man that comes into the world, let the light of thy countenance be signed upon us, that in it we may behold the unapproachable light, and direct our steps to doing thy commandments, at the prayers of thy most pure Mother and of all the saints.

READER: Amen.

Here begins the Third Hour if it is to be read immediately after the First, otherwise the Dismissal 

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

READER: 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)

PRIEST

May Christ our true God, by the prayers of His most holy Mother…

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

READER: Amen.

* In Great Lent after the Priest says "God be merciful unto us, and bless us..." he immediately says the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian. After each verse we make a deep prostration.

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power, and vain words.

But the spirit of integrity, humility, patience and love, grant unto me Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me awareness of my own sins and let me not judge my brother: for blessed art Thou for ever and ever. Amen.

Then we make 12 small prostrations each saying to himself: O God, be gracious unto me, a sinner and have mercy upon me. Then the last verse of the prayer is repeated with another deep prostration.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me awareness of my own sins and let me not judge my brother: for blessed  art Thou for ever and ever. Amen.

READER

O Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us. (3)

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

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy upon us; O Lord, cleanse us from our sins; O Master, pardon our transgressions; O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name’s sake.

Kyrie eleison or Lord have mercy. (3)

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

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

PRIEST

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.

READER: Amen.

Kyrie eleison (12)

PRIEST

O Christ, the true light who enlightens and sanctifies every man that comes into the world, let the light of thy countenance be signed upon us, that in it we may behold the unapproachable light, and direct our steps to doing thy commandments, at the prayers of thy most pure Mother and of all the saints.

READER: Amen.

Here begins the Third Hour if it is to be read immediately after the First, otherwise the Dismissal 

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

READER: 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)

PRIEST

May Christ our true God, by the prayers of His most holy Mother…

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

READER: Amen.