THE ORDER FOR READING
CANONS AND AKATHISTS WHEN ALONE
Before commencing any rule of prayer, and at its completion, the following reverences are made (prostrations or bows), called
The Seven Bow Beginning.
O God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Bow
O God, cleanse me, a sinner, and have mercy on me. Bow
Thou hast created me, O Lord, have mercy on me. Bow
I have sinned immeasurably, O Lord, forgive me. Bow
My most holy Lady Theotokos, save me, a sinner. Bow
O Angel, my holy Guardian, protect me from all evil. Bow
Holy Apostle (or Martyr, or Holy Father N.) pray to God for me. Bow
Then: Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us. Amen.
Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.
Heavenly King; Holy God (thrice); Glory, Both now; O Most Holy Trinity; Lord, have mercy (thrice); Glory, Both now; Our Father; Lord, have mercy (twelve); Glory, Both now; O come let us worship (thrice); Psalm 50, Have mercy on me, O God; I Believe, and the reading of the canons and akathists.
Then the Canons and Akathists are read as follows:
A) If one Canon or Akathist is to be read it is read straight through.
B) If more than one Canon is to be read, the first Ode of the first Canon is read. If the Refrain before the final or last two troparia is Glory... Both now ... , the Glory is replaced by the Refrain of the Canon and Both now is replaced by "O most holy Theotokos, save us" (the latter comes before a Theotokion, a troparion to the Mother of God).
Then the first Ode of the second Canon is read, beginning with the Refrain (the Irmos being omitted since the Irmos of the first Canon only is read or chanted), etc. Glory and Both now are used only as Refrains before the last two Troparia (or last Troparion) of the final Canon to be read.
Then the third Ode of the first Canon, beginning with the Irmos, etc. After the third Ode: Lord have mercy (3), Glory, Both now, and the Sessional Hymn (s). [When there are more than one Canon, the Kontakion of the second is read (and any additional ones are read) before the Sessional Hymn (s). Glory, Both now is read before the final Sessional Hymn (or the final two), not after Lord, have mercy as given above].
Then Odes 4, 5 and 6 are read. After Ode 6: Lord, have mercy (3), Glory, Both now, and the Kontakion of the first Canon.
Then Odes 7, 8 and 9 are read.
C) If an Akathist is read with the Canon (s), it is inserted after Ode 6. All Kontakia of the Canon (s) are read after Ode 3 in this case.
After Ode 9:
It is truly meet...
Trisagion through Our Father ...
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy... and the rest of the Prayers Before Sleep.
If no other prayers are to be read, the closing is as follows:
It is truly meet...
Prayer(s) following the Canon (s).
Trisagion through Our Father...
Lord, have mercy. (thrice)
Glory... Both now...
More Honorable than the Cherubim...
Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us. Amen.