Skip to content. Skip to navigation
Personal tools
Sections

The Lenten Liturgies

Document Actions

PREFACE

It has been suggested that our Church is enjoying a "liturgical renewal". This can mean many things. But amid all the evidence, it can be observed in a heightened interest among the faithful in vesperal celebrations of the Liturgy and especially in the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts during Lent. This edition of The Lenten Liturgies is a response to a need, long felt, for a bilingual text, organized with great care, so that the complexities of the service are minimized, while yet providing, as no other edition thus far does, the complete hymnology and readings for each of the fifteen occasions when the Presanctified is prescribed to be conducted.

It also puts into the hands of the faithful the full text of the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, with its hymnological variants, as celebrated on the five Sundays in Lent. The average worshiper is hardly aware of the differences between this and the more familiar Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, since the principal differences are largely inaudible. But here the exquisite "long" prayers, the Great Eucharistic Prayer and the wonderfully compassionate Prayer of Commemoration, are provided in a fresh English translation that conveys their full force and beauty. As no liberties have been taken with content and rubrics, so the integrity of language has been meticulously preserved: the Greek is totally faithful to the received, approved text; the English, though contemporary in style, is equally faithful to the original Greek, in all its vigor and grace.

At each step in the development of The Lenten Liturgies drafts have been submitted for review and approval to the Commission on Translations appointed by His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos from among the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops. His Eminence has of course personally kept abreast of the work in progress. The publication thus enjoys the authorization of the Church, and for this we express warm thanks to all who toiled to help make it as free as possible of error or lapses.

Special gratitude is owed to Milton and Harriet Sioles of Paradise Valley, Arizona, who in loving memory of their son Dean so willingly provided a generous grant to cover the costs of publication.

If the liturgical renewal is authentic, and we believe it is, then we hope that this latest offering of NARTHEX PRESS will be received, and widely used, to support and help sustain that renewal. If this book succeeds in this, in some measure, we will have had our recompense.

Father Spencer T. Kezios
Father Leonidas C. Contos

INTRODUCTION

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is of very early and, in a sense, practical origin; practical in that it was seen as the means for the faithful to commune of the Sacrament on days when the Eucharistic Liturgy could not be celebrated. In early times, at least until the fourth century, Communion was considered so much a part of the Eucharistic Sacrifice that it was unthinkable to attend without partaking. In fact, the faithful sometimes received the Sacrament more often than they attended the Liturgy, usually celebrated on Sunday only, the Lord's Day, and this by virtue of taking the Sacrament home, in a special "arca "fashioned for this purpose. Tertullian testifies to the practice when he asks, "Will not your husband know what it is that you secretly consume before any other food?" In Syria the practice was still current in the sixth century. John Moschos, a spiritual writer of the period, speaks of the faithful taking home with them on Holy Thursday enough of the Eucharist to last the year.

Of all the Lenten rules, one is unique to Orthodoxy, and so gives us a key to its liturgical spirit: it forbids the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on weekdays in Lent, as incompatible with fasting, the sole exception being the Feast of the Annunciation. But so as not to deprive the faithful of "the food of immortality", the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is prescribed, that is, a "Eucharistic synaxis" without the Consecration. The festal nature of the Eucharist is thus reserved for Saturdays and Sundays in Lent, while on the days of total fasting, Wednesdays and Fridays, the people receive the Holy Gifts that were sanctified on the previous Sunday.

The Presanctified was from the start an evening service, Communion following Vespers, to be conducted after the Ninth Hour, i.e. three o'clock in the afternoon. The daylong fast was thus broken early in the evening, much as the total fast on Sunday is broken after Communion. It is likely that this service was not always confined to Lent, but was common to all of the Church's fasting seasons. However, permeated as it is with the "bright sadness" of Lent, it has taken on a special beauty and solemnity. As we pray for the Catechumens, those being made ready for Holy Baptism on Easter Saturday, we sense a direct connection with the Christian Church of the early centuries, and understand the initial character of Lent as preparation for Baptism and for Easter.

But it is the Prayers of the Faithful that really illuminate the Lenten road, giving us a fuller understanding of the meaning and purpose of the Lenten discipline:

"Liberate all our senses from killing passion, setting over them as benevolent sovereign our inner reason. Let the eye be averted from every evil sight, and the ear be deaf to idle talk. May the tongue be purged of unseemly speech. Purify these lips that praise You, Lord. Make our hands abstain from wicked deeds, doing only such things as are pleasing to You, thus sealing with Your grace all our members, and our mind."

Then, as we prepare for the Entrance of the pre-consecrated Gifts: "Behold, His spotless body and life giving blood are about to make their entrance at this hour, to be laid on this mystical table, invisibly attended by a multitude of the heavenly host. Grant that we may receive them in blameless communion, so that as the eyes of our understanding see the light, we may become children of light and of day."

THE LITURGY OF THE PRESANCTIFIED GIFTS

Because the Divine Liturgy is the "Banquet of Christ", a festive, triumphant celebration, the ancient discipline of the Church came to regard it as out of harmony with the penitential climate of Great Lent. Yet to provide the faithful with the "food of immortality", the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, that is, with the Eucharistic Gifts consecrated beforehand, at the Liturgy of the previous Sunday, came into use early on. (It is attested as the approved custom by the Quinisext Council of 692.)

The Presanctified Gifts were offered to the faithful, after the ninth hour, about 3:00 p.m., usually at the end of a day of fasting, in what is actually an elaborated Office of Vespers with Holy Communion. The Presanctified is conducted from fifteen to eighteen times a year:

1. On Wednesday and Friday of the first six weeks of Lent.

2. On Thursday of the fourth week of Lent.

3. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week.

The Sacrificial (or Resurrection) Liturgy is celebrated on all Saturdays and Sundays in Lent, on the Feast of the Annunciation, on whatever day it falls, and on Holy Thursday. (Good Friday is an a liturgical day.)

PARTICULARITIES OF THE PRESANCTIFIED

On the preceding Sunday, at the Prothesis, after dedicating the principal Amnos, or "Lamb", to be distributed in Holy Communion that day, the Priest prepares as many additional "Lambs" as there will be Liturgies of the Presanctified during that week, saying for each the same dedicatory prayers as for the first.

However, at the Consecration of the Gifts all the "Lambs" are presented as one, for Christ is one. Similarly, at the elevation, all the "Lambs" are elevated together.

At the fraction, the Priest breaks only that Amnos which he dedicated first at the Prothesis. As for the others, he takes them one by one in his left hand, and with the spoon in his right pours a small amount of the Holy and Precious Blood of the Lord crosswise on the underside incised with the Cross, then places them in the tabernacle.

Readings from the Psalms are an important element of the Presanctified; the text used here is the translation from the Greek Septuagint authorized by the Holy Archdiocese in 1993, to be used "wherever the Psalms occur in our services." It is the product of a collaboration between Father Leonidas Contos and Father Spencer Kezios for Narthex Press and Baron Jose deVinck for Alleluia Press.

VESPERS WITH THE DIVINE LITURGYOF THE PRESANCTIFIED GIFTS

PRIEST: Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

READER: Amen.

Come, let us worship God our King and bow down before Him.

Come, let us worship Christ God our King and bow down before Him.

Come, let us worship Christ, our King and our God, and bow down before Him.

PSALM 103/104

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord, my God, you are great indeed! Clothed in pomp and brilliance, arrayed with light as with a cloak, stretching out the sky as a tent-cloth, establishing your lofty halls on water. You make the clouds your conveyance, you surge on the wings of the wind. You make the winds your messengers, and flaming fires your attendants.

You settled the earth on its foundation: it shall stand unmoved from age to age. The abyss covered it like a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke, they take to flight, at the peal of your thunder, they flee. They hurdle the hills and run down the dales to the place you have chosen for them. You have set up a boundary not to be passed: they shall never return to cover the earth.

Down in the gullies, you make springs to rise; waters shall flow between the mountains. They shall give drink to the beasts of the field; wild asses will seek them to quench their thirst. The birds of the sky shall abide by them; from among the rocks, they will raise their song. From your lofty halls you refresh the hills; the earth shall be fed with the fruit of your works.

You make green pastures for the cattle and food-plants for the service of man, so that bread may be drawn from the earth, and wine that gladdens the heart of man; so that oil may put a gleam on his face, and that bread may strengthen the heart of man. The trees of the plain shall be satisfied, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. Sparrows shall build their nests in them, herons shall call them their home. To the deer belong the high mountains; to rodents, the shelter of the rock.

You have made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows the time of its setting. You establish darkness, and it is night, wherein the forest creatures prowl. Young lions roar for their prey, and call out to God for their meat. As the sun rises, they will come together, and lay themselves down in their dens. Man will go out to his labor, and work until eventide.

How great are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you have wrought them all. The earth is filled with your creatures, even the wide and open sea. Within it are countless creeping things, living beings small and large. Upon it there are ships a-sailing, and the great beast you made to have fun. All of them look to you to give them their food in due season. You provide and they gather up; you open your hands, and they are full. You hide your face, and they cringe; you suspend their breath, and they die and return to their dust. You send forth your breath, and they live; you renew the face of the earth.

May the Lord's glory endure forever, may the Lord rejoice in his works. He looks upon the earth, and makes it quake; he touches the mountains, and they smoke. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live, I will praise my God as long as I last. Would that my thoughts be pleasing to him, and I will rejoice in the Lord. May the sinners vanish from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

The sun knows the time of its setting. You establish darkness and it is night.

How great are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you have wrought them all.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to you, O God. (2) Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to you, O God. 0 Lord our hope, glory to you.

THE GREAT LITANY OF PEACE

DEACON: In peace let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: For heavenly peace and the salvation of our souls let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: For peace in the whole world, the stability of God's Holy Churches and for the oneness of all, let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: For this holy house, and all who enter it with faith, reverence and godly fear, let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: For our Archbishop (N.), our Bishop (N.), the worthy priesthood, the deacons in Christ, for all the clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: For our country, the President, and all in public service, let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: For this city and this Parish, for every city and land, and for the faithful who live in them, let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: For temperate weather, abundance of the goods of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: For those who travel, by land, sea and air, for those who are sick or suffering or in captivity, and for their safekeeping, let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: That we may be spared all affliction, violence, danger and want, let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Help us, save us, have mercy on us and keep us, O God, in Your grace.

Remembering our most holy, pure, blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

CANTOR: To You, O Lord.

THE PRAYER OF THE FIRST ANTIPHON

PRIEST: (inaudibly) Gracious and merciful Lord, forbearing and generous in mercy, hear our prayer and heed the voice of our entreaty. Give us a sign of Your favor. Lead us in Your way, that we may walk in Your truth; gladden our hearts, that we may be in awe of Your holy name, for You are great in the wonders You perform. You alone are God, and among all deities none is Your like, O Lord: mighty in mercy and benevolent in might, helping and comforting and saving all who trust in Your holy name.

PRIEST: For all glory, honor and worship are Your due, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

CANTOR: Amen.

After which the gates of the Royal doors are closed and the Reader reads the eighteenth division of the Psalter.

While the first stasis of the Kathisma is being read, the Priest, making three deep prostrations, opens the Tabernacle (Artophorion) and censing the gifts, he places the paten (diskarion) on the open antimension on the Holy Altar. With great reverence he places a "Lamb " upon it. Then, covering it with the veil, and led by the censer, he proceeds to the Prothesis.

There he pours wine and water into the chalice in the usual way, covers it with the second veil, then both vessels with the aer. These actions are accompanied simply by the "Through the prayers of the Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and save us. " When the Presanctified Gifts have been covered, he proceeds to the Little Synapte, or short petition.

THE FIRST SETTING

PSALM 119/120

In my distress, I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me. O Lord, save me from lying lips, and from a treacherous tongue. What shall be given you and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? The sharpened arrows of a warrior with firebrands made of the broom tree. Woe is me that my exile has been so long; that I have set up tent in the camp of Kedar. Too long have I stayed among those who hate peace. I was peaceable, but when I spoke to them, they warred against me without cause.

PSALM 120/121

I lifted up my eyes to the hills whence help shall come to me. My help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He will not suffer your foot to stumble; nor  shall the Guardian fall asleep. Behold, he will neither sleep nor slumber, the Watcher over Israel. The Lord will keep watch over you; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not scorch you by day, nor shall the moon fail you by night. The Lord will preserve you from every evil, the Lord will safeguard your life. The Lord will guard your coming and your going henceforth and for evermore.

PSALM 121/122

I was happy when they said to me: "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Our feet stood within your courts, Jerusalem, Jerusalem built as a city whose people are as one. For there did the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord as it was decreed to Israel to give thanks to the name of the Lord. For there have been placed thrones for judgment, thrones for the house of David. Pray, then, for the peace of Jerusalem, and may prosperity be with those who love you. May peace be within your walls, and prosperity upon your towers. For the sake of my brethren and my friends, I have indeed asked peace for you; for the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I have earnestly sought your good.

PSALM 122/123

I have lifted up my eyes to you who dwell in heaven. As the eyes of the servants are on the hands of their masters, as the eyes of a maid are on the hands of her mistress, so our eyes are on the Lord our God until he has mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us; for we have had more than our fill of contempt: yes, our soul has been more than glutted. May disgrace fall on the prosperous, and contempt on the proud.

PSALM 123/124

Had not the Lord been with us, let Israel now say, had not the Lord been with us at the time men rose against us, truly, they would have swallowed us alive when their fury was inflamed against us; truly, the water would have drowned us, the torrent would have swept over us. Truly, the raging waters would have overwhelmed us. Blessed be the Lord who has not abandoned us as prey to their teeth. Like a bird of passage we were rescued from the fowler's net. The snare was torn asunder, and we escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to You, O God. (3)

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

DEACON: Again in peace let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Help us, save us, have mercy on us and keep us, O God, in Your grace.

Remembering our most holy, pure, blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

CANTOR: To You, O Lord.

THE PRAYER OF THE SECOND ANTIPHON

PRIEST: (inaudibly) O Lord, do not rebuke us in Your anger; do not chastise us in Your wrath; but deal with us according to Your loving kindness, as Healer and Physician of our souls. Guide us to the harbor of Your will; enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we may know Your truth; and grant that the rest of this day may be peaceful and without sin, as may our whole life, through the prayers of the Theotokos and of all tile saints.

PRIEST: For Yours is the dominion, and Yours the kingdom and the power and the glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

CANTOR: Amen.

THE SECOND SETTING OF THE PSALTER

PSALM 124/125

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Sion which cannot be moved, which shall stand forever. Mountains are all around Jerusalem, as the Lord is around his people, now and forever. For the Lord will not let the scepter of the wicked rule over the land of the just, lest the just themselves apply their hands to iniquities. Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those whose heart is upright. But those who stray into crooked ways, the Lord will expel with evildoers. Peace upon Israel!

PSALM 125/126

When the Lord returned the captives of Sion, we were like men dreaming. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing. Then it was said among the Gentiles, "The Lord has done great things for them. " The Lord has done great things for us: we have been made to rejoice. O Lord, return our captives as streams return to the south. Those who weep as they sow shall rejoice as they reap. Though they went forth shedding tears as they scattered their seeds, they shall return rejoicing, bearing with them their sheaves.

PSALM 126/127

Unless the Lord build the house, in vain do the builders toil; unless the Lord guard the city, in vain does the watchman keep watch. In vain do you rise early: you get up after rest only to eat the bread of grief, for he provides for his beloved while they sleep. Behold, the Lord's inheritance is his children, and his reward, the fruit of the womb. As arrows in the hand of a mighty warrior, so are the children of the exiles. Blessed the man who will be able to fill his quiver with them: they shall never be put to shame when they meet their foes at the gates.

PSALM 127/128

Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. You shall eat of your hand's labor: blessed are you, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your house: your children like olive shoots around your table. Behold, in this way shall be blessed the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Sion, and may you see the wealth of Jerusalem all the days of your life. And may you see your children's children. Peace upon Israel!

PSALM 128/129

Often have they assailed me since my youth: let Israel say it! Often have they assailed me since my youth, but they have not prevailed over me. The wicked plowed my back: they increased their iniquity. But the righteous Lord has cut asunder the neck of the sinners. Let them all be confounded and turned back, those who hate Sion: let them become like grass on the house-tops which withers before it can sprout; with which the reaper fills not his hand, nor the binder of sheaves his arms, while those who pass by do not say, "The blessing of the Lord be upon you!" We have blessed you in the name of the Lord.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to You, O God. (3)

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

DEACON: Again in peace let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Help us, save us, have mercy on us and keep us, O God, in Your grace.

Remembering our most holy, pure, blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

CANTOR: To You, O Lord.

PRAYER OF THE THIRD ANTIPHON

PRIEST: (inaudibly) Lord our God, be mindful of us sinners and Your unfit servants, even as we call upon Your holy name; and do not put us to shame for having placed our hope in Your mercy; but grant, O Lord, all that we ask for our salvation; and make us worthy to love and fear You with all our heart, and in all things to do Your wilt.

PRIEST: For You are a good and loving God, and to You we offer the glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

CANTOR: Amen.

THE THIRD SETTING OF THE PSALTER

PSALM 129/130

Out of the depths I have cried out to you: Lord, Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my plea. If you retain sins, Lord, O Lord, who can stand? With you there is forgiveness. For your name's sake, O Lord, I have waited for you. My soul has waited for your promise, my soul has hoped in the Lord. My soul has trusted in the Lord, from the morning watch till night. Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is steadfast love and in him is full redemption, and he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

PSALM 130/131

O Lord, my heart is not uplifted, nor are my eyes upraised. I have not busied myself with lofty pursuits, nor with wonders too great for me. If I have failed to remain humble, but instead have exalted my soul, as a weaned child is treated by its mother, so will you deal with my soul. Let Israel hope in the Lord, henceforth and forever.

PSALM 131/132

O Lord, remember David and all his forbearance, how he swore to the Lord, and made a vow to the God of Jacob: "I will not enter the tent, my abode, nor get up on the couch of my repose; I will give no sleep to my eyes, nor to my eyelids any slumber, nor to my temples any rest, until I find a place for the Lord, a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. " Behold, I have heard of it in Ephrata: we found it in the forest clearings. Let us enter into his tabernacles, let us worship where his feet once stood. Arise, O Lord, and go to your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.

May your priests be clothed in righteousness, and your faithful ones rejoice. For the sake of David your servant, turn not away the face of your anointed one. The Lord swore to David a promise which he will not retract: "One of your own flesh I will place on your throne. If your sons will keep my covenant and the revelations I will offer them, their sons also shall be seated upon your throne for evermore. " For the Lord has elected Sion, he has chosen it for his dwelling:

"This is my home for ever and ever; here I will dwell because I have chosen it. I will bless abundantly her provisions; I will feed her poor with bread; I will clothe her priests with salvation, and the faithful shall exult with joy. There will I raise the pride of David; I have readied a lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but on him my crown shall shine.

PSALM 132/133

Behold how good and pleasant it for brothers to dwell in unity. It is as ointment upon the head, which runs down over the beard, the beard of Aaron, runs down to the hem of his garment. It is like the dew of Hermon which falls on the mountains of Sion, for there the Lord has ordained the blessing: life for evermore.

PSALM 133/134

Behold now, bless the Lord all you servants of the Lord who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. By night, lift up your hands to the holy places and bless the Lord. May the Lord who made heaven and earth bless you out of Sion.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to You, O God. (2)

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to You, O God. Lord our hope, glory to You.

DEACON: Again in peace let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Help us, save us, have mercy on us and keep us, O God, in Your grace.

Remembering our most holy, pure, blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

CANTOR: To You, O Lord.

THE PRAYER OF THE FOURTH ANTIPHON

PRIEST: (inaudibly) Praised by the heavenly powers with hymns that are never silent and doxologies that never cease, fill our lips with praise of You, that we may fitly magnify Your holy name. And grant us a portion and share with all who truly fear You and keep Your commandments; at the intercession of the holy Theotokos and of all the saints.

PRIEST: For You are our God, a God who shows mercy and saves, and to You we offer up glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

CANTOR: Amen.

He then sings the opening verses of Psalm 140/141 in the appointed tone:

PSALM 140/141

O Lord, I have cried out to you: hear me, O Lord. Lord, I have cried out to you, hear me; hearken to the voice of my prayer as I cry out to you, hear me , O Lord.

As the second verse begins, the Priest invokes a blessing on the incense and the Deacon censes in the usual manner.

Let my prayer rise as incense before you; the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth, and a gate to contain my lips. Let not my heart incline to evil deeds, to finding excuses for sinful doings. In the company of men who work iniquity, and I will not partake of their delicacies. Let the just man chasten me with kindness and chide me. But the oil of the wicked shall never touch my head, yet even then would I pray for their good will. Their judges were dashed against the rock: they shall hear my words, how sweet they are. As a lump of clay broken on the ground, so shall their bones be strewn near the grave. On you, Lord, O Lord, my eyes are fixed; in you have I trusted: take not my life. Keep me from the snare which they have set for me, and from the
traps of wicked men. The wicked shall fall into their own nets, while I alone escape.

PSALM 141/142

With my voice, I cried out to the Lord, with my voice, I implored the Lord. Before him, I will pour out my prayer; in his presence, I will tell of my distress. When my spirit was fainting within me, you knew my paths. On that very road I was walking, they set a trap for me. I looked to my right and observed: no one was aware of me. I had no means of escape: no one would take care of my life. I cried out to you, O Lord, and said, "You are my hope, my share in the land of the living. Attend to my supplication, for I am laid very low. "Deliver me from my oppressors, for they are too strong for me. Release me from prison, that I may give thanks to your name. "

 

The Hymnology and Old Testament Readings for each Presanctified Liturgy will be found in Appendices A & B


PRIEST: Peace be to you.

DEACON: Wisdom.

When the reading is concluded, the priest censes the Holy Altar, pausing at each side, singing antiphonally with the Cantor the "Katefthynthito", "Let my prayer rise as incense before You...

introducing each reprise with a verse from Psalm 140/141:

PRIEST: Let my prayer rise as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

The priest then moves to the south of the Holy Table and censes, chanting aloud.

PRIEST: O Lord, I have cried out to You: hear me; hearken to the voice of my prayer as I cry out to You.

CANTOR: Let my prayer rise as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

The priest then moves to the rear of the Holy Table and censes, chanting aloud.

PRIEST: Verse: Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth, and a gate to contain my lips.

CANTOR: Let my prayer rise as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

The priest then moves to the north of the Holy Table and censes, chanting aloud.

PRIEST: Verse: Let not my heart incline to evil deeds, to finding excuses for sinful doings, in the company of men who work iniquity, and I will not partake of their delicacies.

CANTOR: Let my prayer rise as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

The priest then moves in front of the Holy Table and censes, chanting aloud.

PRIEST: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

CANTOR: Let my prayer rise as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

The priest standing before the Holy Table repeats.

PRIEST: Let my prayer rise

Coming through the Royal Gates and censing the icon of Christ the Lord he chants.

as incense before You.

He the censes the remaining icons and the faithful as the Cantor chants.

CANTOR: the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

If the Feast of a Saint is being commemorated the appropriate Epistle and Gospel is now read.

The Deacon exits from the north door (or the Priest standing before the Holy table) and chants the Fervent Supplication.

THE FERVENT SUPPLICATION

DEACON: Let us say with our whole heart and our whole mind, let us say.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy. (threefold)

DEACON: Lord Almighty, God of our fathers, we pray You, hear us and have mercy.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

DEACON: Have mercy on us, O God, in Your great goodness; we pray You, hear us and have mercy.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

DEACON: Again we pray for pious and Orthodox Christians.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

DEACON: Again we pray for our Archbishop (N.), and our Bishop (N.).

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

According to the practice of the Ecumenical Patriarchate the Litany ends here.

Prayer of the Fervent Supplication

PRIEST: (During the Litany of Fervent Supplication: inaudibly) Lord our God, accept this fervent prayer by Your servants, and have mercy on us, and in the abundance of Your compassion have pity on us and on all Your people, who await Your plenteous mercy.

PRIEST: For You are a merciful and loving God, and to You we give glory: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

CANTOR: Amen.

Here the Priest makes the sign of the Cross over the Antimension with the Book of Gospels.

THE LITANY FOR THE CATECHUMENS

DEACON: You who are Catechumens, pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: You faithful, let us pray for the Catechumens.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: That the Lord will show them mercy.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: That He will instruct them in the word of His truth.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: That He will reveal to them the Gospel of righteousness.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: That He will unite them to His Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Save them, have mercy on them, help them and keep them, O God, in Your grace.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: You who are Catechumens, bow your heads to the Lord.

Prayer for the Catechumens

PRIEST: (inaudibly) O God, our God, Author and Creator of all things, it is Your will that all should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Look upon Your servants the Catechumens, and free them of ancient error and from the wiles of the enemy. Call them to eternal life, illuminating their souls and bodies, and numbering them among Your reasoning flock, on which Your holy name is invoked.

PRIEST: That with us they too may glorify Your most noble and majestic name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and forevermore.

CANTOR: Amen.

Here the Priest unfolds the Antimension as in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

DEACON: All Catechumens, depart. The Catechumens, depart. All who are admitted for Illumination, depart. Pray, all you who preparing for Illumination. Let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Catechumens, depart. Let none of the Catechumens remain.

DEACON: All we faithful once again in peace let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, in Your grace.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Wisdom!

The First Prayer of the Faithful

PRIEST: (inaudibly) O God, great and praised, through the life giving death of Your Christ, You have borne us from corruption to immortality. Liberate all our senses from killing passion, setting over them as a benevolent sovereign our inner reason. Let the eye be averted from every evil sight, and the ear be deaf to idle talk.

May the tongue be purged of unseemly speech. Purify these lips that praise You, Lord. Make our hands abstain from wicked deeds, doing only such things as are pleasing to You, thus sealing with Your grace all our members, and our mind.

PRIEST: For all glory, honor and worship are Your due: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forevermore.

CANTOR: Amen.

DEACON: Again in peace let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Help us, save us, have mercy on us and keep us, O God, in Your grace.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Wisdom!

The Second Prayer of the Faithful

PRIEST: (inaudibly) Holy Master, infinitely good, we entreat You, rich in mercy, to be gracious to us sinners, and to make us worthy to receive Your only Son and our God, the King of Glory. For behold, His spotless body and life giving blood are about to make their entrance at this hour, to be laid on this mystical table, invisibly attended by a multitude of the heavenly host. Grant that we may receive them in blameless communion, so that as the eyes of our understanding see the light, we may become children of light and of day.

PRIEST: Through the gift of Your Christ with Whom You are blessed, together with Your all holy, good and life giving Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

CANTOR: Amen.

In place of the Hymn of the Cherubim, which is normally sung at the Entrance of the Holy Gifts, the following hymn is sung:

CANTOR: Now the Powers of Heaven minister invisibly with us. For, behold, the King of Glory enters.

The hymn breaks off at this point. In total silence the Gifts are carried into the Soleas by the priest whose head is covered by the Aer, then into the Sanctuary, and placed on the Holy Altar. As these are the Presanctified Gifts, already consecrated, the people kneel in deep reverence during their Entrance.

They rise as the hymn concludes:

CANTOR: Behold, the mystical sacrifice, fully accomplished, is ushered in. In fervent faith let us draw near, that we may become sharers in everlasting life. Alleluia.

THE COMPLETION LITANY

DEACON: Let us complete our evening prayer to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: For the Precious Gifts here set forth and presanctified, let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: That our loving God, having received them at His holy and mystical and celestial altar as a sweet spiritual fragrance, will in turn send upon us His divine grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit, let us pray.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: That we may be spared all affliction, violence, danger and want, let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

DEACON: Help us, save us, have mercy on us and keep us, O God, in Your grace.

That this whole evening may be perfect, holy, peaceful and without sin, let us ask of the Lord.

CANTOR: Grant this, O Lord.

DEACON: An angel of peace, a faithful guide, a guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask of the Lord.

CANTOR: Grant this, O Lord.

DEACON: Forgiveness of our sins and offenses let us ask of the Lord.

CANTOR: Grant this, O Lord.

DEACON: All that is good and profitable for our souls, and peace in the world, let us ask of the Lord.

CANTOR: Grant this, O Lord.

DEACON: That we may live out our lives in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord.

CANTOR: Grant this, O Lord.

DEACON: A Christian end to our lives, peaceful, free of suffering and shame, and a good defense at the dread judgment seat of Christ, let us ask.

CANTOR: Grant this, O Lord.

DEACON: Having prayed for the unity of the faith, and for the communion of the Holy Spirit, let us commend ourselves and one another, and our life to Christ our God.

CANTOR: To You, O Lord.

PRIEST: During the Completion Litany: (inaudibly) O God of ineffable and unseen mysteries, in You are hidden the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, yet You have revealed to us this Liturgy and, in Your great love for mankind, appointed us sinners to offer gifts and sacrifices to You, for our sins and for the failings of the people. Invisible King, You perform works great and inscrutable, glorious and extraordinary, beyond number. Look upon us Your undeserving servants as we stand, as at Your throne of the Cherubim at this Your holy altar, where Your only-begotten Son, our God, rests in the awesome mysteries here offered.

Freeing us all, and Your faithful people, of all uncleanness, sanctify all of us, soul and body, with a sanctification that cannot be taken away. Thus, partaking of these divine Blessings with pure conscience, faces unblushing, hearts enlightened, and being quickened by them, we may be united to Your Christ Himself, our true God. For He said: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him. " Having Your Word indwelling and moving within us, we may thus become the temple of Your all-holy and worshipful Spirit, free of every wide of the Evil One affecting our acts, our words, our thoughts, and so obtain the blessings promised to us as to Your Saints who have pleased You through the ages.

PRIEST: And make us worthy, Master, with confidence and without fear of reproach, to make bold to call You, the heavenly God, Father, and to say:

UNISON: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

PRIEST: For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

CANTOR: Amen.

PRIEST: Peace be to all.

CANTOR: And to you spirit.

DEACON: Let us bow our heads to the Lord.

CANTOR: To You, O Lord.

PRIEST: (inaudibly) O God, You alone are compassionate and good. Dwelling on high, yet looking upon the lowly, regard Your people with tender eye and safeguard diem. Count us all worthy to partake without reproach of these Your life giving Mysteries. For it is to You that we bow our heads, in the hope of Your rich mercy.

Lifting the Asterisk from the Paten:

PRIEST: Through the grace, mercy and love for us of Your only begotten Son, with Whom You are blessed, together with Your all holy, good and life giving Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

CANTOR: Amen.

PRIEST: (inaudibly) Lord Jesus Christ, hear us from Your holy dwelling place and from the throne of glory of Your kingdom and come to sanctify us. Though enthroned with the Father on high, yet present here in our midst, unseen, deign by Your mighty hand to give us a share of Your Pure Body and Precious Blood, and through us to all Your people.

With the Holy Gifts still covered by the veil, the Priest touches the consecrated "Lamb ".

DEACON: Let us be attentive

PRIEST: The Presanctified Holy Gifts for the holy people of God.

CANTOR: One is holy, one is Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen. (Followed by the Communion Hymn:)

CANTOR: Taste and see how good the Lord is. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

THE FRACTION AND COMMUNION

The priest now uncovers the Gifts and performs the fraction in the usual manner.

DEACON: Master, break the Holy Bread.

He breaks the Amnos into its four quarters.

PRIEST: (In a low voice:) The Lamb of God is broken and shared, broken but not divided; forever eaten yet never consumed, but sanctifying those who partake of Him.

DEACON: Master, fill the Cup.

He places the portion marked IC (Jesus) in the chalice, saying:

PRIEST: The fullness of the Holy Spirit.

DEACON: Amen.

DEACON: Master, bless the Zeon.

PRIEST: Blessed is the fervor of Your Saints, now and forevermore. Amen.

Pouring the Zeon into the chalice, he says:

DEACON: The fervor of faith, full of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

THE PRAYERS BEFORE COMMUNION

I believe, Lord, and confess that You are truly the Christ, Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the greatest. I also believe that this is truly Your spotless Body, and that this is truly Your precious Blood. Wherefore I pray to You: have mercy on me and forgive my offenses, whether intended or not, whether committed in word or in deed, knowingly or unknowingly; and count me worthy to share without judgment in Your pure Mysteries, for remission of sins and for everlasting life. Amen.

You have beguiled me with yearning, O Christ, and by love divine transformed me. Consume my sins in ethereal flame, and let me be filled with the sheer delight of You, O Gracious Lord, that leaping for joy, I may magnify both Your Advents.

How shall I, so unworthy, come into the splendor of Your Saints? If I make bold to enter the bridal feast, my clothing will reproach me since it is not a wedding garment. Then I shall be bound and cast out by the angels. In Your love, Lord, purge my soul and save me.

Loving Master, Lord Jesus Christ my God, let not these holy gifts become a judgment against me because of my unworthiness, but for the cleansing and sanctification of both soul and body, and as a pledge of the future life and the kingdom. It is good for me to cling to God, to place in Him my hope for salvation.

And as he makes three prostrations before the altar:

Receive me today, Son of God, as a partaker of Your mystical supper; for I will not reveal the Mystery to Your enemies, nor give You a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess You: Lord, remember me in Your kingdom.

Bowing to the people in a gesture of mutual forgiveness, he then turns to the altar to receive, saying to the DEACON:

PRIEST: Brother and con-celebrant, forgive me the unworthy Priest.

DEACON: May the Lord forgive both you and us.

PRIEST: May the Lord forgive me a sinner, and have mercy on me. (3)

He then takes a portion of the Lamb, saying:

PRIEST: Behold, I approach Christ, our immortal King and God. The precious and most holy Body of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is given to me (N.) the unworthy Priest, for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

Then, drinking from the cup:

Behold, again I approach Christ, our immortal King and God. The precious and most holy, pure and life giving Blood of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is given to me (N.) the unworthy Priest, for forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

Wiping the rim of the chalice and reverencing it, he adds:

This has touched my lips; it takes away my iniquities and cleanses me of my sins.

The deacon then also receives according to the established order.

Then the following prayer:

PRIEST: We thank You, God and Savior of all, for all the blessings You have bestowed on us, and for the communion of the Holy Body and Blood of Your Christ. And we pray You, loving Lord, keep us in the shelter of Your wings, and grant that, to our very last breath, we may partake worthily of Your sanctifying blessings, for the enlightenment of soul and body, for the inheritance of the heavenly kingdom.

THE COMMUNION OF THE FAITHFUL

DEACON: With the fear of God, with faith and with love, draw near.

CANTOR: God is Lord and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.

When all have received the Holy Eucharist, the Priest holds the chalice aloft and says:

PRIEST: God, save Your people and bless Your inheritance.

In place of the customary "We have seen the light... " we sing:

CANTOR: I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever on my lips. Taste the heavenly bread and the cup of life, and see how good the Lord is. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

PRIEST: (As he censes the Holy Gifts: inaudibly) Be exalted, O , above the heavens, and let Your glory be over all the earth (3)

The Deacon receives the Paten from the Priest and takes it to the Prothesis.

The Priest lifting the Chalice prays before the Holy Table.

PRIEST: (inaudibly) Blessed is our God

Then, holding the Chalice aloft, covered, he faces the people and adds:

always, now and ever and to the ages of ages.

CANTOR: Amen.

After returning the Holy Vessels to the Prothesis the Priest folds the Antimension.

DEACON: Let us be attentive! Having received the divine, holy, pure, immortal, life giving and awesome Mysteries of Christ, let us give fitting thanks to the Lord.

Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, in Your grace.

Having asked that this whole evening may be perfect, holy, peaceful and free of sin, let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

CANTOR: To You, O Lord.

He makes the sign of the Cross with the Book of Gospels over the now folded Antimension.

PRIEST: For You are our sanctification, and to You we give the glory: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

CANTOR: Amen.

PRIEST: Let us depart in peace.

DEACON: Let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Holy Father, give the blessing.

PRIEST: (Standing before the icon of Christ) Almighty Lord, You have created all things in wisdom. In Your inexpressible providence and great goodness You have brought us to these saving days, for the cleansing of our souls and bodies, for control of our passions, in the hope of the Resurrection. After the forty days You delivered into the hands of Your servant Moses the tablets of the law in characters divinely traced. Enable us also, O benevolent One, to fight the good fight, to complete the course of the fast, to keep the faith inviolate, to crush underfoot the heads of unseen tempters, to emerge victors over sin and to come, without reproach, to the worship of Your Holy Resurrection. For blessed and glorified is Your most honorable and majestic name, of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forevermore.

CANTOR: Amen. May the name of the Lord be praised, from this time forth and to the endless ages.

This is sung three times as the Priest goes to the Prothesis, saying:

PRIEST: Lord our God, You have guided us to these most holy days, and admitted us as participants to Your awesome Mysteries. Unite us to Your spiritual flock and declare us heirs to Your kingdom, now and forever. Amen.

DEACON: Let us pray to the Lord.

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy.

PRIEST: May the blessing of the Lord and His mercy come upon you, through His divine grace and love, always, now and forevermore.

CANTOR: Amen.

THE DISMISSAL

PRIEST: Glory to You, O God, our hope, glory to You.

May Christ our true God, through the intercessions of His most pure and holy Mother; the power of the precious and life giving Cross; the protection of the honorable, bodiless heavenly powers; the supplications of the honorable, glorious Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist; the holy, glorious and victorious Martyrs; our venerable and godly Fathers; the holy and righteous ancestors Joachim and Anna; of Saint (the Saint of the day) whose memory we keep today; and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and loves mankind.

NOTE: The reading of Psalms 33/34 and 144/145 is prescribed at this point as the faithful receive the antidoron.

PSALM 33/34

READER: I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever on my lips. My soul shall glory in the Lord: let the meek hear and rejoice. Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Approach the Lord and be enlightened, and your face shall never be shamed. This wretched man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him from all his afflictions.

The angel will stand guard around those who fear the Lord and save them. Taste and see how good the Lord is. Blessed is the man who hopes in him. Fear the Lord, all you his faithful ones, for those who fear him shall want for nothing. The rich have become poor and hungry, but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good. Come, children, hear me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Which of you desires life, and loves to see the good days? Keep your tongue from wickedness, and your lips from deceitful speech; turn away from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are upon the just and his ears are open to their pleas; the face of the Lord is turned against sinners, to erase their memory from the earth. The just cried out and the Lord heard them, and he delivered them from all their trials. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted, and he will save the humble in spirit. Many are the trials of the righteous, but out of them all the Lord will deliver them. He protects every bone in their body: not a single one of them will be broken. The death of sinners is painful; those who hate justice shall be damned. The Lord will redeem the souls of his servants, and none of those who hope in him shall be lost.

PSALM 144/145

I will exalt you, my God and my king, and bless your name for ever and ever. Every day I will bless you, and praise your name for ever and ever. The Lord is great and greatly to be praised, and to his greatness there is no end. Age after age will praise your works, and proclaim your might. They will tell the glorious splendor of your holiness, they will recount your wondrous works; they will speak of the power of your awesome deeds, they will declare your greatness. They will recall your abundant goodness and will exult in your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful: he is long-suffering and abounding in love.

The Lord is good towards everyone, and his grace extends over all his works. Let all your works give thanks to you, Lord, and all your faithful ones bless you. They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known your might to the children of men, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages and your dominion is for all generations. The Lord keeps faith in all his promises and is hallowed in all his works. The Lord supports all who are failing, and raises up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look up to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hands and satisfy all living beings; the Lord is just in all his ways, and faithful in all his works. The Lord is close to all who pray to him, those who call upon him in truth. He will meet the desire of those who fear him, and hear their pleas and save them. The Lord keeps watch over those who love him, but the wicked he will utterly destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name, for ever and to all eternity.

PRIEST: Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.

CANTOR: Amen.