Forgiveness Vespers

Tone 4 / February 18th 


At Lord I have cried:  Penitential Stichera in the tone of the week: 4; Triodion: 3; Menaion 3.


            Penitential Stichera:


Tone 4:

I want to wash away with tears the record of my sins, O Lord, /

and through the rest of my life to please Thee by repentance; /

but the enemy deceives me and fights against my soul.  //

Before I perish utterly, save me, O Lord.


If a man takes refuge from the tempest in this harbor, /

will he not be saved?  /

If in his agony he kneels before this house of healing, /

will he not be cured?  /

O Maker of all and Physician of the sick, //

before I perish utterly, save me, O Lord.


Wash me with my tears, O Savior, /

for I am defiled by many sins, /

Therefore I fall down before Thee: //

I have sinned, have mercy upon me, O God.


I am a sheep of Thy spiritual flock, /

and to Thee I flee for refuge, O Good Shepherd.  /

I have gone astray, O God: //

seek me and have mercy upon me.




Tone 2: Let us all make haste to humble the flesh by abstinence, /

as we set out upon the God-given course of the holy Fast; /

and with prayers and tears let us seek our Lord and Savior. /

Laying aside all memories of evil, let us cry aloud: /

We have sinned against Thee, Christ our King; /

save us as the men of Nineveh in days of old, //

and in Thy compassion make us sharers in Thy heavenly Kingdom.


When I think of my works, deserving every punishment, /

I despair of myself, O Lord. /

For see, I have despised Thy precious commandments, /

and wasted my life as the Prodigal. /

Therefore I entreat Thee: /

cleanse me in the waters of repentance, /

and through prayer and fasting make me shine with light, /

for Thou alone art merciful; abhor me not, //

O Benefactor of all, supreme in love.


Let us set out with joy upon the season of the Fast, /

and prepare ourselves for spiritual combat.  /

Let us purify our soul and cleanse our flesh; /

and as we fast from food, let us abstain also from every passion.  /

Rejoicing in the virtues of the Spirit may we persevere with love, /

and so be counted worthy to see the solemn passion of Christ our God, /

and with great spiritual gladness //

to behold His holy Pascha.


          Stichera for St. Leo:


Tone 8 [special melody: “What shall we call you…”]:

What shall we name thee, O divinely inspired one?  /

Head of the Orthodox Church of Christ?  /

Eye of piety, possessed of the spiritual understanding /

to see clearly the hearts of men, /

and pouring forth the word of life upon all the ends of the earth?  /

Divinely inscribed scroll of the right Faith?  //

Pray thou that our souls be saved. 



What now shall we call thee, O wondrous one?  /

Preacher of the Truth, firm foundation? /

Senior among the honored supreme council? /

Excellent rule of doctrines, /

possessing the measure of correction?  /

The one who with divinely wrought revelations /

confounded the divisions of Nestorius //

and the confusion of Eutyches?


What now shall we call thee, O marvelous one?  /

Prince and ruler, /

splendidly exercising spiritual mastery /

over the passions of the body?  /

Vessel of divine mercy, /

habitation of perfect love?  /

Loving pastor awaiting the repentance of sinners?  //

Pray thou that our souls be saved.


Glory… Both now… Same Tone and melody:

Whom hast thou emulated, O wretched soul, /

who in no wise rousest thyself to repentance /

nor fearest the fire which awaiteth the wicked?  /

Arise, and cry out, calling upon her who alone is quick to help:  /

O Virgin Mother, entreat thy Son and our God, //

to deliver me from the snare of the deceiver!


            Entrance with the censer:


            O gladsome Light…


            Great Prokimenon, Tone 8:


Deacon/Priest:  Turn not away Thy face from Thy servant, for I am afflicted; hear me speedily: hearken unto my soul, and deliver it.


Choir:  Turn not away Thy face from Thy servant, for I am afflicted; hear me speedily: hearken unto my soul, and deliver it.


Deacon/Priest:  Let Thy salvation, O God, help me.


Choir:  Turn not away Thy face…


Deacon/Priest:  Let the poor see it and be glad.


Choir:  Turn not away Thy face… 


Deacon/Priest:  Seek God, and your soul shall live.


Choir:  Turn not away Thy face…


Deacon/Priest:  Turn not away Thy face from Thy servant, for I am afflicted.


Choir:  Hear me speedily: hearken unto my soul, and deliver it.


Reader:  Vouchsafe, O Lord…


Then the Litany,  Let us complete our evening prayer unto the Lord, with the choir singing the responses according to the penitential Lenten melody.


            Aposticha, Tone 4:


Thy grace has shone forth, O Lord, /

it has shone forth and given light to our souls. /

Behold, now is the accepted time: /

behold, now is the season of repentance. / 

Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, /

that having sailed across the great sea of the Fast, /

we may reach the third-day Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, //

the Savior of our souls.

Stichos 1:  Unto Thee have I lifted up mine eyes, unto Thee that dwellest in heaven.  Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hands of their masters, as the eyes of the handmaid look unto the hands of her mistress, so do our eyes look unto the Lord our God, * until He take pity on us.

          Repeat the sticheron “Thy grace has shone forth, O Lord…”

Stichos 2:  Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us, for greatly are we filled with abasement.  Greatly hath our soul been filled therewith; let reproach come upon them that prosper, * and abasement on the proud.

          To the Martyrs, Same Tone:


Thou art glorified in the memorials of Thy saints, O Christ our God: /

at their intercessions //

send down upon us Thy great mercy.


Glory… Tone 8:

Having piously armed thyself with martyric courage, O athlete of Christ, /

and mystically allied thyself with His power, /

struggling to offer rational sacrifice unto God, /

thou didst show the godlessness of idolatry /

and the threats of the tormentors to be empty, /

despising tortures and transitory fire.  /

But, O, the gifts divine!  /

Both in reality and in name, /

from every evil circumstance/

by thy prayers do thou save those //

who celebrate thy memory.


Both now… Same Tone:

Taking up the cry of the Archangel Gabriel, /

let us say: Rejoice, O Mother of God, /

who gavest birth unto Christ //

who bestoweth life upon the world!


          Everything else is found in the Horologion, an outline is provided to keep the choir on track:


            Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, O Master…


            Holy God…


            O Theotokos and Virgin…


            Glory…  O Baptizer of Christ…


            Both now…  Plead in our behalf…


            Beneath thy compassion…


            Lord, have mercy.  40 times


            Glory… Both now… More Honorable…


            In the name of the Lord, father bless.


            Priest: He that is is blessed…


            O Heavenly King, strengthen Orthodox Christians.


            Then the priest says the prayer of St. Ephrem with 3 prostrations, then the dismissal and the mutual forgiveness.