Forgiveness Vespers

Tone 7 / March 2nd o.s. /March 15th n.s. (Eve)

 

 

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

 

            Penitential Stichera, Tone 7:

 

As the Prodigal Son, I also come to Thee, O compassionate Lord, /

and I fall down before Thee. /

Accept me as one of Thy hired servants, //

and have mercy on me.

 

As the man who fell among thieves and was wounded, /

I too have fallen through my sins and my soul is wounded. /

To whom shall I flee for refuge, guilty that I am, /

if not to Thee, the merciful Physician of our souls. //

Pour on me, O God, the oil of Thy great mercy.

 

Sinner though I be, O Savior, /

cut me not down as the barren fig tree. /

Grant me forgiveness for my many years of sin, /

and water my soul with tears of repentance, /

that as fruit I may offer Thee //

acts of mercy and compassion.

 

Thou art the Sun of righteousness; /

illumine the hearts of those who praise Thee, singing: //

Glory be to Thee, O Lord.

 

            Triodion, 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 the Hieromartyr Theodotus of Cyrenia:

 

Tone 4 (Special Melody: “As valiant among the martyrs…”):

A most sacred priest, /

the foundation of the Church, /

a pillar unshakable wast thou shown to be, O most glorious one, /

and a wonderworker most true, /

bestowed of God, O glorious one, /

and thou wast a most radiant and sacred luminary /

and a garden of paradise, /

having acquired Jesus the Bestower of life as the Tree of life in thy midst, //

O hieromartyr Theodotus.                                      

 

Beaten with leathern thongs, /

and stretched out on a tree, /

and bitterly lacerated, O right wondrous one, /

imprisoned in a dungeon, /

thy feet cruelly pierced with nails, /

and laid upon a heated bed of iron, /

thou wast shown to be steadfast, /

glorifying Him Who strengthened thee amide all thy torments, //

O hieromartyr Theodotus.

 

Strangling the enemy /

with the cords of thy struggles, /

thou didst vanquish his power; /

and having been most splendidly courageous, /

thou dwellest as a crowned victor in the kingdom of heaven, /

having been accounted worthy of enlightenment /

and the comeliness of them that hold festivals; /

and thou prayest that they that honor thee be saved, //

O Theodotus, thou glory of the martyrs.

 

Glory... Both now...: Theotokion, in the same tone and melody:

Deliver thou my soul /

from condemnation and grievous transgressions, /

O all-holy Bride of God, /

and rescue it from death by thy supplications. /

Grant that on that day of trial /

I may receive the justification /

which the assemblies of the saints have received; /

and before the end show me forth as cleansed through repentance //

and by the shedding of tears.

 

            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.