The Circumcision of the Lord / St Basil the Great


Great Vespers: The priest vested in epitrachilion, cuffs, and phelonion, opens the royal doors, censes (with the deacon) the Holy Table and Altar. The deacon, standing before the royal doors, exclaims: Arise! O Lord, bless! And the priest, making the sign of the Cross with the censer before the Holy Table exclaims: Glory to the holy, and consubstantial, and life-creating, and indivisible Trinity, and then sings O come let us worship, and then completes the censing of the whole temple, while the choir sings the 103rd Psalm: Bless the Lord, O my soul. After the censing, the royal doors are shut, and exiting the altar, the priest reads the lamp lighting prayers before the royal doors. The litany of peace. Blessed is the man.

Lord I have Cried, Tone 8: on 8: Feast 4 (Descending unto the human race); St. Basil 4 (O father who art the namesake of kingship); G: Hierarch (As a lover of wisdom); N: Feast (Descending unto the human race).

Entry; O Gladsome Light; Prokimenon of the day, Tone 7: O God, my helper art Thou. 3 Old Testament Readings.

Litany: Let us all say; Vouchsafe, O Lord; Litany: Let us complete our evening prayer. The servers process out to the Narthex. The icons and the people are censed.

Litia: Stichera of the Temple, and then of St. Basil (Having caused Christ, the Well-spring of life); G: Hierarch (Grace was poured forth in thy lips); N: Feast (Descending unto the human race).

Litany of the Litia: Save, O God, Thy people; and the prayer: O Master plenteous in mercy.

Aposticha: Hierarch (O most blessed Basil); G: Hierarch (Receiving the grace of miracles from heaven); N: Feast (The all good God was not ashamed).

Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart; Trisagion to Our Father; Troparia: Hierarch (Thy fame hath gone forth into all the earth) x2; Feast (Thou Who sittest with the Eternal Father) x1.

While the Troparia are sung, the deacon (or the priest, if there is no deacon) censes three times around the table on which are placed 5 loaves, wheat, wine, and oil. Prayer for the blessing of the loaves; Blessed be the name of the Lord, x3; Psalm 33: I will bless the Lord at all times; to …but they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good thing; Priest: The blessing of the Lord; Choir: Amen; And the reader begins the Six Psalms.


Matins: After the Six Psalms, the litany of peace.

God is the Lord, Tone 1; Troparia: Feast x2; G: Hierarch; N: Feast.

After each Kathisma: Small Litany; Sessional hymns from the Hierarch and of the Feast.

Polyeleos and Magnification of the Hierarch: We magnify thee, O holy hierarch father Basil, and we honor thy holy memory, for thou dost pray for us to Christ our God. Psalm verse:  Hear this, all ye nations; give ear, all ye that inhabit the world.

Small litany; The Sessional hymn after the Polyeleos: Hierarch (By the power of thy divine words); G: Hierarch (The grace of thy divine discourses); N: Feast (The Master and Creator of all).

Hymns of Ascents, First Antiphon, Tone 4: From my youth.

Prokimenon, Tone 4: My mouth shall speak wisdom.

Matins Gospel: John 10:9-16 (§36).

Psalm 50; G: Through the prayers of the Holy Hierarch Basil; N: Through the prayers of the Theotokos; Have mercy on me, O God; Sticheron of the Hierarch: Grace was poured forth. Save, O God, Thy people.


Canon: Feast                                      6              Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

                Hierarch                                8              Holy Hierarch, Father Basil, pray to God for us.

                Irmos: Come, O ye people.

                Katavasia of Theophany: The Lord mighty in battle. & Israel passed through the storm-tossed deep.*


After Ode 3, Kontakion of the Feast (The Lord of all undergoeth circumcision), Sessional hymn of the Hierarch (Having learned the wisdom of the Word); G/N: Feast (As Thou art an abyss of love for mankind).

After Ode 6, Kontakion (Thou didst prove to be an unshakable foundation) and Ikos of the Hierarch

At Ode 9, we do not sing More Honorable, but instead sing the festal verses for the feast and the Hierarch: Magnify, O my soul, the Lord Who hath been circumcised in the flesh in accordance with the law, and the others as set forth in the Menaion.


Exapostilaria: Hierarch (With the desire of love of wisdom) x2; G/N: Feast (The Creator of the ages).

Praises, Tone 5, on 6: Feast 2 (He Who as the Word); Hierarch (Having become a child of God through grace) 4; G: Hierarch (Grace was poured forth in thy lips); N: Feast (Descending unto the human race). After the Great Doxology: Troparion of the Hierarch; G/N Feast; the two remaining Litanies and the dismissal: May Christ our true God, Who on the eighth day deigned to be circumcised for our salvation; First Hour.


Hours: Troparia: Feast; G: Hierarch; Kontakion: Feast & Hierarch, alternating.**


Liturgy of St. Basil the Great: Beatitudes on 8: Feast 4, Ode 3; Hierarch 4, Ode 6.

After the entrance, the choir sings: O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, Who art wondrous in the saints, O Son of God, save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Then the Troparion of the Feast; Troparion of the Hierarch; G: Kontakion of the Hierarch; N: Kontakion of the Feast. 

Prokimenon, Tone 6: Save, O Lord, and of the Hierarch, Tone 1: My mouth shall speak wisdom.

Epistle: Col. 2:8-12 (§254); I Tim. 3:14-4:5 (§284); Heb. 7:26-8:2 (§318).

Alleluia, Tone 8.

Gospel: Luke 2:20-21, 40-52 (§6); Matt. 3:1-11 (§5); Luke 6:17-23a (§24).

Instead of It is truly meet: All creation rejoiceth in thee.

Communion Hymn: Praise the Lord in the heavens and In everlasting remembrance.

Dismissal: May Christ our true God, Who on the eighth day deigned to be circumcised for our salvation.


After the Liturgy: The Moleben for the New Year. However, some do this service after the vigil at midnight.


*Also sung on the apodosis of Theophany, January 14.


** When it occurs that there are two kontakia appointed to be read at the hours, the Kontakion that was chanted after the 3rd Ode is read at the 1st Hour, and at the 6th Hour. The Kontakion which was chanted after the 6th Ode is read at the 3rd Hour and at the 9th Hour (before the Vespers of the following day).