Forgiveness Vespers

Tone 4 / February 5th  o.s.


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. Bucolus, Tone 6 (special melody: “On the third day…”:


Shining with the light of beneficent virtues, O most sacred one, /

thou wast mystically set as a light /

upon the candlestand of the divine Church, //

illumining it with thy sacred teachings, O father.


The Holy Spirit, sanctifying thee, O sacred Bucolus, /

through thee imparteth sanctity, /

enlightenment and deliverance //

to those who approach with faith, O God-bearer.


Preaching the utter goodness of our God, O wise one, /

thou dost bless afflicted people with grace, /

leading them to the Savior, //

as a most sacred priest.


Glory… Both now… Same tone:

Like the Archangel, we, the faithful, /

hymn the bridal-chamber of heaven, the portal truly sealed:  /

Rejoice, thou for whose sake hath sprung forth for us /

Christ, the Savior of all, the Bestower of life and God! /

With thy mighty arm cast down the tyrants, our godless foes, O all-pure Mistress, thou hope of Christians!


            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…Both now…in the Same Tone:

The ranks of the angels glorify thee, O Mother of God, /

for thou hast given birth to Him that is God, /

who dwells ever with the Father and the Spirit, /

who created the angelic hosts out of nothing by an act of His will. /

Entreat Him, all-pure Lady, to save and illumine the souls //

of those who with true worship sing thy praises.


          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.