Forgiveness  Vespers  for  the
beginning  of  THE  Great Lent

 

(Stand)

 Priest:  Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and forever.

 People:  Amen.

 Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal have mercy on us. (3x)

 Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;

 Now and for ever and ever, Amen.

 O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us; O Lord cleanse us of our sins; O Master, forgive us our transgressions; O Holy One, come to us and heal our infirmities for Your Nameís sake.

 Lord, have mercy.  (3x)

 Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;

 Now and for ever and ever. Amen.

 Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be 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 the kingdom, the power and the glory are Yours, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever.

People:  Amen.

Priest:  Lord, have mercy. (6x)

People:  Lord, have mercy. (6x)

Priest:  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;

People:  Now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Priest:  Come let us adore the King, our God.

People:  Come let us adore Christ the King, our God.

Priest:  Come let us adore and bow down to the Lord Jesus Christ, the King and our God.

(Sit)

PSALM  103

People:  Bless the Lord O my soul!

              You are very great, O Lord, my God!

 

              Clothed in pomp and brilliance,

              arrayed with light as with a cloak.

 

              Stretching out the sky as a tent cloth,

              covering your lofty halls with water.

 

              You make the clouds your conveyance,

              You surge on the wings of the wind.

 

              You make spirits your messengers

              and flaming fires your attendants.

 

              You settle the earth on its firm foundation:

              It shall stand unmoved from age to age.

              May the Lordís 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 may 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.

(stand)

               Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;

               Now and for ever and ever. Amen.

 

               Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

               Glory be to You, O God. (3x)

(sit)

Priest:  In peace let us pray to the Lord.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  For the peace from on high and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  For peace throughout the world, for the well being of Godís holy churches and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  For this holy church and for all who enter it with faith, reverence, and fear of God, let us pray to the Lord.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  For our most holy universal pontiff, [N] Pope of Rome, let us pray to the Lord.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  For our most blessed Patriarch, [N] our most reverend Metropolitan, [N] our God-loving Bishop [N] the reverend priesthood, diaconate in Christ, and all the clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  For our nation under God, for our government, and for all the military, let us pray to the Lord.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

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

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  For favourable weather, for an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  For the seafarers and travelers, for the sick and the suffering, for those held captive, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  Help and save, have mercy and protect us, O God, by Your grace.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  Remembering our most holy and immaculate, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, together with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

People:  To You, O Lord.

Priest:  For all glory, honour, and worship befit You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever.

People:  Amen.

(Stand)

PSALM  140

          O Lord, I have cried to You hear me;

          Hear me, O Lord!

          O Lord, I have cried to You, hear me;

 

          Receive the voice of my prayer when I call upon You.

          Hear me, O Lord!

 

          Let my prayer rise like incense before You;

          And the lifting of my hands as an evening sacrifice,

          Hear me, O Lord!

 

(Sit)  [Tone 8]

If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, Lord who will stand?* But with You is forgiveness that you may be revered.

The angels praise you without ceasing, O King and Master* and I fall before you crying like the Publican:* O God be merciful to me and save me.

I trust in the Lord: my soul trusts in his Word.* My soul waits for the Lord.

Since you are immortal, O my soul,* be not overwhelmed by the waves of this life;* but return to soberness and cry to your Benefactor:* O God be merciful to me and save me.

More than the sentinels wait for the dawn,* let Israel wait for the Lord.

O God, give me tears as you once gave them to the woman that had sinned,* and count me worthy to wash your feet that have delivered me from the way of error.* As sweet-smelling ointment, let me offer you a life, created in me by repentance,* and may I also hear those words for which I long; go in peace, your faith has saved you.

For with the Lord is kindness and with Him is plenteous redemption;* and He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.

When I call to mind the many evils I have done,* and I think upon the fearful day of judgment,* seized with trembling I flee to you for refuge, O God who loves us all* turn not away from me, I beseech You, who alone are free from sin:* before the end comes grant mercy to my humbled soul and save me.

Praise the Lord, all you nations,* glorify him, all you people.

[Tone 2]

Let us all make haste to humble ourselves during the God-given course of the holy Fast.* With prayers and tears let us seek our Lord and Saviour.* Laying aside all memories of evil, let us cry aloud:* We have sinned against you, O Christ our King;* and in your compassion make us sharers in your heavenly Kingdom.

For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever.

When I think of works, deserving every punishment,* I despair of myself, O Lord.*

For see, I have despised your precious commandments and wasted my life as the Prodigal.*

Therefore I entreat you to cleanse me in the waters of repentance,*

And through prayer and fasting make me shine with light, for you alone are merciful:*

reject me not, O Benefactor of all, supreme in love.

(Stand)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
Now and for ever and ever. Amen

Let us begin the season of Fast with joy,* giving ourselves to spiritual deed,* cleansing our soul and body by controlling our passions,* as we limit our food and live on virtues of the Spirit.

Let us persevere in our longing for Him,* that we be worthy to behold the most solemn Passion of Christ * and the most Holy Passover,* rejoicing the while with Spiritual Happiness.

Priest:  Wisdom! Be attentive!

 

HYMN  OF  LIGHT

People:

O Joyful Light!

Light and Holy Glory of the Father immortal,

The heavenly, holy the Blessed One: O Jesus Christ!

Now that we have reached the setting of the sun;

And see the evening light, we sing to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our God.

It is fitting at all times to raise a song of praise in measured melody

to You, O Son of God, the Giver of Life.

Behold the universe sings Your glory.

Priest:  Let us be attentive! Peace be with all. Wisdom! Let us be attentive!

People:  Hide not Your face from your servant;

in my distress, make haste to answer me.

Come and deliver my soul.

Priest:  But I am afflicted and in pain; let Your saving help O God, lift me up.

People:  Hide not Your face from your servant;

in my distress, make haste to answer me.

Come and deliver my soul.

Priest:  See, you lowly ones, and be glad;

see the Lord, and your souls shall find life.

People:  Hide not Your face from your servant;

in my distress, make haste to answer me.

Come and deliver my soul.

 

Deign,  O  Lord

 Deign, O Lord, to keep us this evening without sin.

Blessed are You, O Lord, God of our Fathers! Praised and glorified is Your name forever. Amen.

O Lord, let Your mercy rest upon us, for we have placed our trust in You.

Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.

Blessed are You, O Master; grant that I may understand Your statutes.

Blessed are You, O Holy One; enlighten me with Your statutes.

Everlasting is Your love, O Lord; do not turn away from the work of Your hands!

Indeed, praise, adoration and glory are Your due, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever. Amen.

 

(Sit)

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

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  Help and save, have mercy and protect us, O God, by Your grace.

People:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  For an angel of peace, a faithful guide, a guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask the Lord.

People:  Grant this, O Lord.

Priest:  For the forgiveness and remission of our sins and offenses, let us ask the Lord.

People:  Grant this, O Lord.

Priest:  For all that is good and beneficial to our souls and for peace in the world, let us ask the Lord.

People:  Grant this, O Lord.

Priest:  That we may spend the rest of our lives in peace and repentance, let us ask the Lord.

People:  Grant this, O Lord.

Priest:  For a Christian end to our lives, one that is painless, unashamed and peaceful; and for a good defense at the awesome tribunal of Christ, let us ask the Lord.

People:  Grant this, O Lord.

Priest:  Remembering our most holy and immaculate, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, together with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

People:  To You, O Lord.

Priest:  For you are a good and loving God, and we give glory to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever.

People:  Amen.

(Stand)

Priest:  Peace be with all.

People:  And with your spirit.

Priest:  Bow your heads to the Lord.

People:  To You, O Lord.

Priest:  O Lord, Our God, You brought heaven to earth when You came down for the salvation of the human race. Now look down on Your servants and on Your inheritance; for they have bowed their heads to You, the Judge, both awesome and loving. They do not await the help that is from man, but look for Your mercy and are ready to receive Your salvation. Guard them at all times, this evening and tonight, against all enemies, against the devilís assaults, against vain thoughts and evil dreams. May the might of Your kingdom be blessed and exalted, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever.

People:  Amen.

 

Apostica  [Tone 4]

People:  Your grace has shown forth, O Lord* it has shone forth and given light to our souls.* Behold, now is the acceptable 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 Saviour of our souls.

O Christ God, You are glorified in the memorials of Your saints.* At their intercessions send down upon us Your great mercy.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever and ever. Amen.

The choirs of angels glorify you, Mother of God,* for you have given birth to him that is God,* who dwells forever with the Father and the Spirit,* and 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 your praises.

Now You shall dismiss Your servant, O Lord, according to Your word, in peace, because my eyes have seen Your salvation which You prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people, Israel.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal have mercy on us. (3x)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,

Now and for ever and ever. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us; O Lord cleanse us of our sins; O Master, forgive us our transgressions; O Holy One, come to us and heal our infirmities for Your Nameís sake.

Lord, have mercy.  (3x)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit

Now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be 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 the kingdom, the power and the glory are Yours, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever.

People:  Amen.

          Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God, Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb; for you have given birth to the Saviour of our souls.

Prostration

          Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: Saint John, we pray to you, the baptizer of Christ, remember us that we may escape from our transgressions; for to you was given grace to intercede for us.

Prostration

          Now and for ever and ever. Amen. Pray for us, holy Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, and all the Saints, that we may escape sorrows and tribulations; for we accept you as powerful intercessors before the Saviour.

Prostration

          We hasten to your protection,* O Virgin Mother of God.* Turn not away from our prayers in our tribulations,* but save us from all troubles,* for you alone are pure and blessed.

Lord, have mercy. (40x)

People:  Give the blessing!

Priest:  Blessed and glorified are you, O Christ our God, always, now and for ever and ever.

People:  Amen.

Priest:  O heavenly King, strengthen our civil authorities, establish the faith on a solid on a solid foundation, give peace to the nation, and secure protection for this holy place. Establish our departed ancestors and brothers and sisters in the mansion of the just; and deign to receive us who repent and confess, for You are the merciful God Who loves us all.

People:  Amen.

Priest:  Lord, have mercy. (3x)

People:  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

Priest:  Now and for ever and ever. Amen.

People:  More honourable than the Cherubim, and by far more glorious than the Seraphim; ever a virgin, you gave birth to God the Word, O true Mother of God, we magnify you.  In the name of the Lord, bless us Father.

Priest:  Through the prayers of our Holy Father, O Lord Jesus Christ, our God have mercy on us.

People:  Amen.

Forgiveness  prayer

 Priest:  Let us pray to the Lord.

 People:  Lord, have mercy.

 Priest:  Lord God Creator of all the universe and Maker of the human race; You created us in Your image and in the likeness of Your Trinitarian Life.  As You dwell in three persons and live in one divine life, so we also were created to live one human life in peace and harmony. We defiled from Your original provision and we embraced selfishness and aversion, following the example of Cain, the killer of his brother. We commit hostilities, divisions and wars among ourselves.  Indeed, You do not deserve us, but You sent Your Only-begotten Son to unite us back to You. He has enjoined on us to forgive seventy-seven times, and He offered His life that we may be one.

 O Father, You sent Your Holy Spirit upon us, a spirit of peace and harmony, so that we, who are gathered here in Your name, may express goodness and compassion, and forgive each other, as Your forgive us in Christ.

 As You glorified Your holy martyrs Boris and Hlib, for they did not raise arms against their brother, so today remove from our hearts any desire of vengefulness and of hatred. O Lord, open our hearts and fill them with the spirit of forgiveness, peace and love.

 For You are the God of Peace, and Love and Truth, and we give glory to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever.

 People:  Amen.

 Priest:  (kneeling) Bless me, brothers and sisters, and forgive me, for I have committed sins today and through my entire lifetime, by word, deed, thought and by my senses.

 People:  (standing) May God forgive you and have mercy on you, Reverend Father, and we forgive you.

 Priest:  Bless me, brothers and sisters, if I have offended you by word or action.

 People:  (standing) May God forgive you and have mercy on you, Reverend father, and we forgive you.

 Priest:  Bless me, brothers and sisters; if because of forgetfulness or carelessness, I did not fulfill my obligations towards you.

 People:  (standing) May God forgive you and have mercy on you, Reverend Father, and we forgive you.

 Priest:  Forgive me, brothers and sisters, and my brothers in the priesthood, for all transgressions we may have committed against you deliberately or through human frailty.

 People:  (standing) May God forgive you and have mercy on you, Reverend Father, and we forgive you.

 People:  (kneeling) Bless me Father, and forgive me for I have committed sins today and through my entire lifetime, by word, deed, thought and by my senses.

 Priest:  (standing) May God in His mercy forgive you your sins and I forgive you.

 People:  (kneeling) Bless me, Father, and forgive me, if because of forgetfulness or carelessness, I did not fulfill my obligations towards you.

 Priest:  (standing) May God in His mercy forgive you your sins and I forgive you.

 People:  (kneeling) Bless me, Father, and forgive me if I seeded division, burdened your service, and caused obstacles to divine grace descending into our community.

 Priest:  How good and how delightful it is when brothers and sisters live in harmony. Now it is required that we forgive each other. Let the right part of the church turn towards the left, and the left towards the right. Look well, brothers and sisters, if there is someone with whom you personally will require to make peace. And now let us mutually forgive each other.

 All together:  Pray for me, brothers and sisters, and forgive me, for I have committed sins by word, deed, and thought. Let there be no bitterness among us.

 Then add:  May God forgive you and have mercy on you, brothers and sisters. And I forgive you.

 People:  Have mercy on me O God.  Have mercy on me.

 Prayer  of  Saint  Ephrem

 All:    O Lord and Master of my life,

          keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement

          lust of power and idle chatter.

Prostration

Instead, grant to me, Your servant,

The spirit of wholeness of being, humble mindedness, patience, and love.

Prostration

          O Lord and King,

          grant me the grace to be aware of my  sins and not to judge my brothers and sisters.

          For You are blessed now and for ever and ever. Amen

Prostration

 

The following prayer is repeated 4 times, making a total of 12 prostrations.

          O God, be merciful to me a sinner. (bow)

          O God, cleanse me of my sins, and have mercy on me. (bow)

          O Lord, forgive me for I have sinned without number. (bow)

 

The prayer of St. Ephrem is said once more in its
entirety, with the one final prostration at the completion.

 

Prayer for the beginning
of the Great Fast

(Kneel)

 Priest:  Let us pray to the Lord.

 People:  Lord, have mercy.

 Priest:  O Lord Jesus Christ, our God and hope of all on land and of those far away at sea, You have established these holy days of fasting by Your law and the prophets, as a way for our mortification and repentance.

 At the proper time, You manifested Yourself in the flesh on this earth, and by Your fast of forty days and nights You sanctified the practice of fasting and commanded us to follow Your example.

 As a merciful and gracious God, enable us to begin these holy days of the Great Fast with perfect repentance, with humility instead of hypocrisy, with fervent prayer, with hunger and thirst, with frequent prostration, and with a contrite heart. Enable us, also to complete this time of the Great Fast without fault and with a pure conscience, keeping our faith intact and achieving victory over sin.

 Send us an Angel of Peace to watch over our lives, to protect us from all snares of our enemies, and to assist us in the performance of good deeds. Strengthen us by Your power so that we may accomplish the spiritual works of the Great Fast. Then with our passions in control and our souls and bodies properly cleansed, we will be able to partake, without condemnation, of Your most precious and life-giving Blood.

 For You are the merciful and gracious Lover of us all who came down to earth to save all; and we give glory to You and Your Eternal Father and Your all-holy Gracious, and life-giving Spirit, now and for ever and ever.

 People:  Amen.

 (Stand)

 Dismissal

 Priest:  Glory be to You, O Christ, our God, our hope; glory be to You.

 People:  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Lord, have mercy. (3) Give the blessing.

 Priest:  May Christ, our true God, have mercy on us and save us through the prayers of His most pure Mother, and through the intercession of the Holy Angels, the holy praise worthy Apostles, of Saints Peter and Paul, the patrons of this church, and of all the Saints, for He is gracious and loves us all.

 People:  Amen.