GREAT VESPERSKathisma Reading
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.
At Psalm 140
In Tone 2
- Lead my soul forth from prison* that I may give thanks to Your name.
Come, let us adore God the Word,
Who was born of the Father before all ages,
and was incarnate of the Virgin Mary;
for of His own free will He suffered the Cross
and submitted Himself to burial,
and arose from the dead to save me, a sinful one.
- The just shall gather around me* when You have been good to me.
Christ our Saviour cancelled the decree that was written against us,
by nailing it to the Cross;
and He abolished the dominion of Death.
Let us glorify His Resurrection on the third day.
- Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord;* O Lord, hear my voice!
Let us, together with the archangels, sing of Christ’s resurrection;
for He is the Redeemer and Saviour of our souls.
He will come again in awesome glory and mighty power
to judge the world which He has fashioned.
In Tone 6
- Let Yours ears be attentive* to the voice of my prayer.
When you shall come, O righteous Judge, to execute just judgment,
seated on Your Throne of glory,
a river of fire will draw all men amazed before Your judgment seat;
the powers of heaven will stand beside You,
and in fear mankind will be judged
according to the deeds that each has done.
Then spare us, Christ, in Your compassion,
with faith we entreat You,
and count us worthy of Your blessings
with those that are saved.
- If You mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand?* But with You forgiveness is that You may be revered.
The books will be opened
and the acts of men will be revealed
before the unbearable judgment-seat;
and the whole vale of sorrow
shall echo with the fearful sound of lamentation,
as all the sinners, weeping in vain, are sent by Your just judgment to everlasting torment.
Therefore, we beseech You,
O compassionate and loving Lord:
spare us who sing Your praise,
for You alone are rich in mercy.
- I have waited for You as You have commanded; my soul patiently relies on Your promise,* for it has trusted in the Lord.
The trumpets shall sound and the tombs shall be emptied,
and all mankind in trembling shall be raised.
Those that have done good shall rejoice in gladness, awaiting their reward;
those that have sinned shall tremble and bitterly lament,
as they are sent to punishment and parted from the chosen.
O Lord of glory, take pity on us in Your goodness,
and count us worthy of a place with them that have loved You.
- From the morning watch until night* let Israel trust in the Lord.
I lament and weep when I think of the eternal fire,
the outer darkness and the nether world, the dread worm and the gnashing of teeth,
and the unceasing anguish that shall befall those who have sinned without measure,
by their wickedness arousing You to anger,
O Supreme in love.
Among them in misery I am first:
but O Judge compassionate, in Your mercy save me.
In Tone 1
- For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him there is plentiful redemption;* and He shall redeem Israel from all its iniquities.
We celebrate an unutterable mystery of saving grace:
Christ our God is born of a pure Virgin
yet underwent no change in His divinity!
Now His Mother brings Him to the Temple of His Father,
and Simeon receives Him in his arms!
- Praise the Lord, all the nations;* proclaim His glory, all you people.
Your coming was announced by the prophets of old;
now You willingly appear in the flesh to all the world, Word of God!
You are born of the Virgin Mary, Christ Jesus.
You reveal salvation to all of Adam’s seed, O Lover of mankind.
- Strong is the love of the Lord for us;* eternally will His truth endure.
The law was given on Mount Sinai of old;
now it is fulfilled in the city of Zion:
Christ the newborn, carried in His Mother’s arms,
is presented in the Temple, upborne by Simeon the elder,
and is ransomed with burnt sacrifice.
In Tone 8, Glory…
When the thrones are set up and the books are opened,
and God sits in judgment,
O what fear there will be then!
When the angels stand trembling in Your presence and the river of fire flows before You,
what shall we do then, guilty of many sins?
When we hear Him call the blessed of His Father into the Kingdom,
but send the sinners to their punishment,
who shall endure His fearful condemnation?
But Saviour, who alone love mankind, King of the ages,
before the end comes turn me back through repentance
and have mercy on me.
In Tone 2, Now…
O Virgin, the shadow of the Law passed away
with the realization of grace.
For as the bush had burned without being consumed,
so you gave birth while a virgin
and you remained a virgin.
Instead of the pillar of fire there rose the Sun of Justice.
Instead of Moses, Christ God came forth,
the Saviour of our souls.
In Tone 2
Your Resurrection, O Christ our Saviour,
has enlightened the whole universe;
and, through it, You call back to Yourself all Creation.
Almighty God, glory to You!
The Lord reigns, He is clothed in majesty. Robed is the Lord, and girt about with strength.
By the wood of Your Cross, O Saviour,
You have abolished the curse of the tree;
by Your burial You have destroyed the power of death;
and by Your Resurrection You enlightened the human race.
We, therefore, cry out to You:
O Christ our God, Giver of Life, glory to You!
For He has made the world firm, which shall not be moved.
O Christ, when You were nailed to the Cross,
the distorted nature of creation was made manifest.
The soldiers showed their inhumanity by piercing Your side with a lance,
and the people showed their ignorance of Your power
by asking that Your tomb be sealed.
But, in Your mercy, You accepted burial
and then arose on the third day.
O Lord, glory to You!
Holiness befits Your house, O Lord, for length of days.
O Christ, Giver of Life,
You freely endured the Passion for the sake of mortals.
In Your power You descended into Hades;
and snatching, as from a mighty monster, the souls of those who awaited Your coming,
You placed them in Paradise.
Therefore, show Your great mercy to us who glorify Your Resurrection,
and cleanse our souls.
In Tone 8, Glory…
Alas, black soul!
How long will you continue in evil?
How long will you lie in idleness?
Why do you not think of the fearful hour of death?
Who do you not tremble at the dread judgment-seat of the Saviour?
What defence will you make, or what will you answer?
Your works will be there to accuse you:
your actions will reproach you and condemn you.
O my soul, the time is near at hand;
make haste before it is too late, and cry aloud in faith:
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against You;
but I know Your love for man and Your compassion.
O good Shepherd, deprive me not of a place at Your right hand
in Your great mercy.
In Tone 2, Now…
Today Simeon takes in his arms the Lord of glory
whom Moses saw of old in the darkness
when He received the tables of the law on Mount Sinai.
This is He Who speaks through the prophets;
He is the Creator of the law!
This is He Whom David announced;
He is fearful to all, yet has great and abundant mercy!
In Tone 2
When You went down to death, O Life Immortal,* You struck Hades dead with the blazing light of Your divinity.* When You raised the dead from the nether world,* all the powers of heaven cried out:* “O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory be to You!”
In Tone 1, Glory… Now…
Rejoice, full of grace, Virgin Mother of God!* From you there dawned the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God,* who enlightens those who dwell in darkness.* And you, O righteous Elder, be glad!* You received in your embrace* the Liberator of our souls,* who grants us resurrection.
Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 2: When You went down to death, O Life Immortal,* You struck Hades dead with the blazing light of Your divinity.* When You raised the dead from the nether world,* all the powers of heaven cried out:* “O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory be to You!”
Troparion, Tone 1: Rejoice, full of grace, Virgin Mother of God!* From you there dawned the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God,* who enlightens those who dwell in darkness.* And you, O righteous Elder, be glad!* You received in your embrace* the Liberator of our souls,* who grants us resurrection.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Kontakion, Tone 1: When You come on earth, O God, in glory,* and the universe trembles,* while the river of fire flows before the seat of judgement,* and the books are opened and all secrets disclosed,* then deliver me from the unquenchable fire,* and count me worthy to stand at Your right hand,* O Judge who are most just.
Now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Kontakion, Tone 1: By Your birth, You sanctified a virgin womb* and fittingly blessed the hands of Simeon.* You have come also now and saved us, O Christ our God;* give peace to Your community in time of war,* and strengthen its rulers, whom You love,* for You alone,* are the Lover of mankind.
Prokeimenon, Tone 3
Great is our Lord and great is His strength;* and of His knowledge there is no end.
verse: Praise the Lord, for a psalm is good; may praise be sweet to Him. (Psalm 146:5,1)
1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2
Alleluia, Tone 8
verse: Come, let us rejoice in the Lord; let us acclaim God our Saviour.
verse: Let us come before His face with praise, and acclaim Him in psalms. (Psalm 94:1,2)
Hymn to the Mother of God
O God-bearing Virgin, hope of Christians, protect and guard and save all those who put their trust in you.
and the Irmos, Tone 3: In the law, the shadow, and the scriptures, we the faithful see a figure: every male child that opens the womb shall be sanctified to God. Therefore do we magnify the first-born Word and Son of the Father who is without beginning, the first-born Child of a Mother who had not known man.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;* praise Him in the highest. (Psalm 148:1)* Rejoice in the Lord, O you just;* praise befits the righteous.* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia. (Psalm 32:1)