The Feast of the Nativity of the Lord


The Vigil


Great Compline (with Litia): The Priest in Phelonion exclaims: Blessed is our God, and censes the entire church.* Reader: Amen. And the order of Great Compline continues with the singing of God is with us (The Royal Doors are opened during the singing of God is with us, and at the troparion, and at the Kontakion).

After the first Trisagion: Troparion of the Feast (Thy Nativity, O Christ our God).

After the second Trisagion: Kontakion of the Feast (Today the Virgin giveth birth).

After the Doxology: Litia: Feast (Heaven and earth are glad today); G: Feast (The magi, kings of Persia); N: Feast (Today all the angels hold chorus in heaven).

Aposticha: Feast (A great and most glorious wonder is wrought today); G: Feast (Rejoice, O Jerusalem); N: Feast (Thou madest Thine abode within a cave).

Now lettest Thou Thy servant, Trisagion to Our Father. Troparia: Feast x3. Blessing of the Bread. Blessed be the name of the Lord x3. Psalm 33: to but they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good thing. Priest: The blessing of the Lord. And the reader begins the Six Psalms.


* The Bogosluzhebniye Ukazaniya outlines how the censing is done: The curtain and the Royal Doors are opened. The priest and the deacon begin as on all festivals with vigils, that is, first they cense the throne and the entire altar. The deacon with a candle comes to Solea and proclaims: Bless, Master. Priest before the Holy Table says: Blessed be our God (while making a cross with the censer). Choir: Amen. Reader: Glory to Thee, our God, Heavenly King, etc., and reads Great Compline. The priest proceeds from the altar preceded by the deacon with a candle and performs a complete censing of the entire church, as at the beginning of the all-night vigil. At the end of the censing, the Royal Doors are closed. The Curtain remains open.


Matins: God is the Lord, Tone 4; Troparia: Feast x2 G/N: Feast.

After each Kathisma: Sessional hymns of the Feast.

Polyeleos and Magnification of the Feast: We magnify Thee, O Christ, the Giver of life, Who for our sake now art born in the flesh of the unwedded and most pure Virgin Mary. Psalm verse: Shout with jubilation unto the Lord all the earth; chant ye unto His name, give glory in praise of Him.

Sessional hymns of the Feast (Come, ye faithful, let us behold where Christ was born).

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

Prokimenon of the Feast, Tone 4: From the womb before the morning-star.

Matins Gospel: Matt. 1:18-25 (2).

Psalm 50; G: All things are filled; N: All things have been filled; Have mercy on me, O God; Sticheron of the Feast (Glory to God in the highest). Save, O God, Thy people.

Canon: Feast (both canons) 12 Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Irmoi: Christ is born & Of old the Master (Each Irmos is repeated twice).

Katavasia: The Irmoi of both canons.

After Ode 3, Hypakoe of the Feast (The sky hath brought the firstfruits).

After Ode 6, Kontakion (Today the Virgin) and Ikos of the Feast.

At Ode 9, we do not sing More Honorable. We instead sing the refrains of the Feast, with the canon of the feast: Magnify, O my soul, her who is more honorable and more glorious than the hosts on high, the most pure Virgin Theotokos; and the others.


Exapostilarion: Feast (From on high our Savior, the Dayspring of the East) x3.

Praises, Tone 4: Feast 4 (Be glad, O ye righteous); G: Feast (When the time arrived); N: Feast (Today Christ is born of the Virgin in Bethlehem). After the Great Doxology: Troparion of the Feast; The two remaining Litanies, and the Festal Dismissal: May Christ our true God, Who was born in a cave, and lay in a manger for our salvation; First Hour.


Hours: Troparion: Feast; Kontakion: Feast.


Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which is served early due to the labor of the vigil.

The festal antiphons are sung in place of the usual Typical Psalms and Beatitudes.

At the entrance, the deacon (or priest if there is no deacon) says the Festal Introit in place of the usual O come let us worship: From the womb before the morning star have I begotten Thee. The Lord hath sworn and will not repent: Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek. And immediately the Troparion of the feast (Thy nativity), G/N: Kontakion of the feast (Today the Virgin).

Instead of the Trisagion: As many as have been baptized into Christ.

Prokimenon, Tone 8: Let all the earth worship Thee and chant unto Thee.

Epistle: Gal. 4:4-7 (209).

Alleluia, Tone 1.

Gospel: Matt. 2:1-12 (3).

Instead of It is truly meet, we sing the refrain Magnify, O my soul, with the Irmos of the Ninth Ode, second canon (Better would it be for us to keep silence in fear).

Communion Hymn: The Lord hath sent redemption unto His people.

And the Festal Dismissal: May Christ our true God, Who was born in a cave, and lay in a manger for our salvation.